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C.J. Mosley Ready To Put On Pads, Start Hitting


C.J. Mosley has been practicing in shorts for long enough. 

The Ravens' first-round draft pick is tired of having football practice without contact being a part of the game, and he's ready to start hitting. 

"I'm ready just to get started. We've been practicing a long time, especially for the rookies," Mosley said after Tuesday's training camp practice.

"I'm just ready to get in these pads and show the coaches that they picked me for a reason."

The Ravens held a practice for rookies, quarterbacks and injured players Tuesday, with the first full-team practice taking place Thursday. The team will be in pads for the first full-contact practice on Saturday.

"The pads are the next step," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That's what football is."

Introducing contact is a key part of training camp, especially for the rookies. They have yet to go through a padded practice since getting drafted in May, and that's a critical step for players like Mosley, who operates in the middle of the defense.

Adjusting to padded practices is also important considering Mosley immediately enters a competition with second-year linebacker Arthur Brown for a starting spot.

"I can speak for our inside linebacker room that the competition is going to start as soon as we get our pads on," Mosley said. [Linebackers] Coach [Don Martindale] has told us that he has one of the best linebacker groups that he's had in a while. Everybody knows what to do. Everybody is athletic. Everybody is fast. Everybody wants to play.

"Whoever plays on Sundays is going to have to show it in the preseason and in these camp practices."

Mosley comes to Baltimore with high expectations after the Ravens drafted him with the No. 17 overall pick. He was the team's highest draft pick since selecting perennial Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata in 2006, and the Ravens have made it clear that they want Mosley to be a difference maker for the defense.

Mosley comes from a championship program at Alabama, so he's used to playing under great expectations.

"I don't really think about it like [pressure]," he said. "I'm here to play football."

Mosley has received positive reviews from coaches and teammates since his arrival in Baltimore – quarterback Joe Flacco called him a "natural" on Tuesday – and he was working with the first-team defense by the end of the offseason program last month.

The next step is to show he can handle the physical part of the game when he puts on the pads this weekend – and that's something he's been eager to do for months.

"They picked me for a reason, so when we get in pads I'm going to have to show what I'm made of," he said. "I'm not really thinking about me starting, but I'm just making sure that when my name gets called I'm ready to play and ready to execute."

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