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How C.J. Mosley Can Make Immediate Impact


The Ravens' starting inside linebackers appeared pretty set.

They already had Daryl Smith, who was one of the defense's most valuable players last season. And they had a young, budding player in Arthur Brown, who they traded up to get in the second round of last year's draft.

So where does first-round pick C.J. Mosley fit in?

During Friday's introductory press conference with Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees and Linebackers Coach Wink Martindale, it became quite clear that Mosley can still will make an immediate impact.

"This guy will find his way onto the field," Pees said. "It will be competition; we're not just going to hand it to him and he knows that. But obviously we think he can get on the field or we wouldn't draft him in the first round."

There are a couple factors that could help Mosley become a Week 1 starter, or at least have a large role. First, he can play both inside linebacker positions. Second, he has a head start on understanding the Ravens' scheme.

The Ravens used Smith at the Mike linebacker position last year and rotated Jameel McClain, Brown and Josh Bynes at Will linebacker. Mosley can play both Mike and Will, according to Pees.

With McClain departed to the New York Giants via free agency, Mosley will primarily compete with Brown and Bynes. But he could also step in for Smith as well. Smith played all but five of the Ravens' defensive snaps last year (1,097 total), and could use more relief, especially considering he's 32 years old and entering his 11th season.

"I think it will be a great competition," Pees said. "That's one of the good things about when you have more than one guy at those positions, then you have competition and you're going to end up with the two best guys on the field."

Even if Mosley isn't a starting linebacker in the Ravens' base defense, Baltimore uses a lot of sub packages that he could get time in.

Pees met with Mosley twice before the draft, once one-on-one at his Pro Day at Alabama and then again when Mosley was one of the Ravens' official 30 visits. The two broke down the Xs and Os of football, and Pees threw some terms from the Ravens' playbook at the young linebacker.

"He kind of smiled and laughed at them because they were the exact terms they used at Alabama," Pees said.

"Everything was a good fit. That's a very multiple, multiple defense that Alabama plays. We're a very multiple defense here. Sometimes it's not a great fit for people to come here if they've played the same one front, one coverage. This guy hasn't."

Pees and Martindale further raved about Mosley's play on the field and leadership.

Pees said he was impressed with how Mosley directed the front seven of Alabama's defense, barking out changes to his teammates. Martindale, who joked that he was holding silent prayers for the Ravens to draft Mosley, said he's one of the best players he's seen on tape. "Smart, tough, instinctive, fluid, smooth," Martindale said. "I put in my report, he uses his hands to get off blocks better than anybody I've seen in the 10 years I've been in this league. I can't tell you enough."


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