Alabama's C.J. Mosley Making a Case as College Football's Best Defensive Player

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterNovember 10, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 09:  C.J. Mosley #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after tackling Terrence Magee #14 of the LSU Tigers during the first half of the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 38-17 victory in Tuscaloosa over the LSU Tigers marks another check on Alabama's list of things to do on the way to a BCS National Championship Game appearance.

This showdown against the explosive Bayou Bengals also served to remind the nation that C.J. Mosley is a force to be reckoned with. The senior is not only one of the nation's best linebackers but also one of its best overall defensive players.

South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney is still the first non-quarterback on many people's draft boards. Anthony Barr of UCLA is drawing plenty of appreciation as a front-runner for postseason hardware.

Alabama's Mosley is on plenty of the same lists, and Saturday night against LSU, the former nickel-package 'backer showed people he can be a menace in every facet of the game, as Bleacher Report's Carter Bryant noted:

Like another big-time defender, BYU's Kyle Van Noy, the Tide's Mosley fills up the defensive stat sheet. He's capable of rushing the passer, he's stout against the run and he excels in pass coverage.

A year after being pulled from games for the base defense, Mosley is proving that he should never come off the turf for Alabama. Not only is he the Tide's best option at the position, he is also one of the best in the game at doing what the linebacker spot requires.

ESPN's David Pollack notes Mosley's versatility as well. After spending his early years as a pass-coverage linebacker, Mosley's grown into an every-down role.

Part of that role includes taking on and shedding blockers to get to ball-carriers. Mosley sticks his nose in there, disengages from fullbacks and linemen and flows to the football with big-time speed. When he gets there, he's looking to drop the back in a hurry.

Mosley got his hands on a couple footballs Saturday.
Mosley got his hands on a couple footballs Saturday.

Unlike most inside 'backers who are primarily downhill players, Mosley demonstrates a comfort in coverage that makes him a problem for quarterbacks. Zach Mettenberger figured that out quickly in Tuscaloosa as Mosley broke up a few passes. Interceptions would have been nice, but the senior's breakups did render a couple of critical downs empty for LSU.

For Mosley and this Alabama defense, the next big task will be corralling Nick Marshall and the potent Auburn Tigers offense. It will be a different sort of challenge for the inside linebacker but one, given his skill set, that should be manageable. As the season winds down and voters start selecting All-Americans, Mosley's name should be at the top of that linebacker ballot.

Expect Mosley to take home an individual trophy or two when the 2013 season wraps up. And as B/R NFL Draft Analyst Matt Miller points out, look for Mosley to make an impact at the next level, no matter where a team plans on lining him up.