Rookie camp feels like a long, long time ago to first-round pick C.J. Mosley.
At the end of Ravens minicamp, one month and seven days after Mosley's first practice, the inside linebacker sat at his locker, exhausted.
Mosley and the Ravens rookies have gone through walk-throughs and practices on the same day, and classroom sessions well after the veterans have gone home, which is typical of rookies league-wide.
But now at the end of the first stage of his NFL rookie season, Mosley feels confident about his progress. Asked whether he felt he was on track to start Week 1, Mosely replied, "Yes, sir."
"The coaches feel comfortable with the way I'm playing and comfortable enough that I know the defense," he said. "It's all about how I feel right now, and I feel like I'm doing a great job."
Mosley ran some with the first-team defense at the end of minicamp. For the majority of the spring and summer months, it was second-year linebacker Arthur Brown ahead of him. Both players have been impressive.
Brown bulked up and is still flying around the field. It's evident that he knows the defense better, and has put himself in position to make a couple of interceptions during practice (including a pick with one hand).
Mosley hasn't had the same eye-grabbing plays, but he's shown off his athleticism. He shot the gap on a few plays when practicing blitzes. He's read screen passes well, showing his football intelligence. He's shown great leaping ability and hands during individual drills.
"The competition is real tight in our linebacker room, and that's a good thing because it's going to make us all work," Mosley said. "At the end of the day, the best player is going to be on the field. Hopefully come Week 1, if I do the right things, that will be me."
The biggest thing for the rookie has been learning the ins and outs of the defense, and he says he feels caught up to the vets.
Coming from Alabama's complex defensive system gave Mosley somewhat of a head start. He and Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees were already on the same page with a lot of terminology before the Ravens drafted Mosley.
"You have to know the defense to be successful and earn a role," he said. "I feel like I'm at that point now. It's all about making plays on the field."
Often, rookies find the jump in speed to be difficult when they reach the NFL. Not Mosley. He was known for his speed at Alabama, allowing him to play sideline-to-sideline with ease.
"It hasn't really been a big deal for me," he said. "I would say the only time the game seems fast to me is when you don't know what you're doing. When you know what to expect, that's when the plays start to slow down for you."
With a month off before training camp, Mosley's work won't stop. He said coaches told him that they would like to see him get bigger in his upper body.
"I've just got to make sure I get stronger and better," he said. "Even though the game doesn't change, there's going to be a difference in the strength and taking on blocks."