C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama (HT: 6'2"; WT: 234 lbs)
First Round: 17th Pick
NFL Comparison: Lavonte David, OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
+ Covers a lot of ground in pursuit and in coverage
+ Fluid mover with quick feet and change-of-directions skills
+ Powerful tackler who can deliver the knockout blow
+ Disciplined in pursuit angles, doesn't overrun plays
+ Very consistent performer
- Lean frame with a lack of great strength
- Average read-and-react ability
- Laundry list of injuries in the past
|6020||234||33 3/8"||10 3/4"|
|40-yd dash||10-yd split||Vert||Broad||3-Cone||Shuttle|
C.J. Mosley's physical skills go both ways, depending on whether they are related to athleticism or size and build. Either way, there is something to be said for a linebacker who looked highly athletic in the most athletic conference in the country and held his own in every way going back to his freshman season.
His build leaves some question marks, at least if looked at through the lens of a middle-linebacker prospect. Mosley only tipped the scales at 234 pounds at the combine and looks like he may play at an even lighter weight. His injury history could be linked to his build, at least partly.
There is something to be said for his length. With arms that measure out past 33 inches, he's able to get his hands on a lot of passes but also extend his hands to shed blocks well.
Mosley is everything teams look for in an athlete at the linebacker position. He has very quick feet, most notably. He has fluid hips, coordinated movement and terrific body control. Mosley can contort to play around run-blockers and can change directions quickly in space. His long speed is more average than phenomenal, but won't be largely limiting in the NFL.
The value of a linebacker who can cover is continually increasing. That bodes well for C.J. Mosley's value. His athletic ability, spatial awareness and overall instincts pay dividends. He gets into great spots and has coverage versatility.
Defenses that employ a Tampa 2 or wish to use some of those concepts will value Mosley's coverage skills. He has enough range to drop into that deep middle third, with long speed to play tight ends down the seam.
Mosley has the positioning and athletic skills to trail in man coverage or drop into deep zones. On top of that, he's a tremendous open-field tackler coming forward. Teams that dumped it down in front of him in college didn't often come away with much.
C.J. Mosley's kryptonite relates to pass coverage. His hands are stone. He has left numerous interceptions on the field with footballs that bounce right off his mitts. Teams aren't about to take him off the field because of that, but it's worth keeping an eye on.
Against the run, Mosley is more reliable and less spectacular. He's less likely to get caught out of position but also less likely to make plays that change games. Some of his finest run-stopping traits include instincts on the move and discipline in his angles. These next two plays are perfect examples of that and a few other skills worth highlighting.
Colorado State is running an outside zone with the tight end combo blocking the end up to the second level and Mosley.
Because the Rams motioned before the snap, Alabama slides their linebackers to follow it, and Mosley becomes the contain player. As soon as he gets his outside-zone read, he must drive forward on the perfect angle that allows him to keep the play contained by not being forced to the outside.
The way he drives through the tight end, extends his hands to separate and quickly reacts to haul down the ball-carrier makes this is a phenomenal play.
His ability to pick his way through traffic, stay on his pursuit angles and make plays at the perimeter also shows up regularly.
The biggest reason Mosley doesn't maximize his playmaking potential is a bit of hesitation. There are certainly times where he picks up on offensive plays and comes downhill to fill in a hurry. Other times he's slow to react to easy reads and gives up yardage he shouldn't.
When a linebacker has a guard pull to key on, being slow to follow it to the play is inexcusable. If Mosley had trusted his eyes, he had a direct alley behind the lead block to stuff the play before it ever got started. He bounced around on his feet instead and couldn't make the play. Sharpening up his read-and-react skills would enable Mosley to play even faster and make more tackles in the backfield.
The biggest concerns with C.J. Mosley as a prospect revolve around whether or not he can stay healthy. Teams can conduct medical examinations and will have a firm grip on this issue.
His log of injuries at Alabama tell quite a tale, though. The list includes a dislocated elbow and dislocated hip. Mosley has also been plagued by shoulder issues in the past. Linebackers must be able to withstand the wars of the NFL game, so Mosley's medical issues are worrisome.
Any defensive scheme can utilize a linebacker with the skills of C.J. Mosley. Many 4-3 defenses will look into playing him on the weak side and letting his athleticism shine. If teams like his coverage range, they may look at him in the middle depending on how they scheme their pass defense.
He's a three down linebacker either way. A 3-4 defense shouldn't be scared off either, so long as it keeps Mosley on the weak side of formations and somewhat protected with their front line.
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