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Mock Draft Spotlight: LB C.J. Mosley


The heart of Alabama's football team is in its defense. And the soul of that unit has been inside linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Mosley is widely considered the top inside linebacker in this year's draft class, and he's been linked to the Ravens at No. 17. ESPN's Todd McShay had him projected to the Ravens in early March.

"I had the Ravens select the best player available in this scenario, which is something they have a history of doing," McShay wrote.

"Linebacker isn't necessarily a need spot for Baltimore, but the team isn't set at the position, either, and Mosley would provide an upgrade as a very productive playmaker with versatility and range."

On a defense littered with playmakers, Mosely wasn't the flashiest. But he was the anchor in the middle during his four-year career. He's a very consistent player.

He was a consensus first-team All-America in 2012 and then both the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus Award winner (nation's top linebacker). Mosley finished his career with more than 300 tackles at Alabama, with 215 coming during his junior and senior seasons.

He's a standout linebacker against the run, flowing sideline to sideline with ease and rarely missing a tackle. But he's more than just a tackling machine. ESPN's Mel Kiper said Moseley is the best coverage inside linebacker in the draft, which makes him more suited to the pass-heavy NFL game.

"That's why he's considered a first-round pick somewhere between eight and 21," Kiper said. "He doesn't have great hands for the interception, but he's a good cover guy."

There are a few marks against Mosely. He doesn't bring much in the pass-rush department, and didn't record a single sack last season. The biggest concern may be his injury history.

In 2011, he missed two games with an elbow injury. He sat out the 2012 BCS championship after dislocating his hip, and needed surgery prior to the combine to fix a labrum issue. Because of that, he skipped the 40-yard dash and bench press.

"Everything went well," McClain said of his media check-ups at his pro day. "Before the combine even happened, in January, I got MRIs on everything I hurt in the past all the way to my freshman year. Everything was good then. [There] were [no] red flags thrown up or anything they had questions on, I got an MRI or X-Ray, so it turned out well."

The Ravens don't have an immediate demand for a starting inside linebacker. They re-signed veteran Daryl Smith and second-year linebacker Arthur Brown is expected to win the starting job. Josh Bynes also has starting experience.

Still, Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens are looking to add one, or maybe two, inside linebackers. Could Mosley be a long-term solution?

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