2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: C.J. Mosley

  • Excellent pass-defender
  • Instinctive
  • Intelligent
  • Gets deep in his pass drops
  • Blitzing ability
  • Man-coverage ability on tight ends, backs
  • Reads quarterbacks eyes
  • Fast at reading his keys
  • Always around the ball
  • Good tackler
  • Advanced technique
  • Tendency to make plays in the clutch
  • Reliable defender
  • Football I.Q.
  • Good communicator
  • Good teammate
  • Loves football
  • Scheme versatility in 4-3 or 3-4
  • Experienced
  • Plug and play; ready to start in NFL
  • High floor
  • Upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Lacks elite speed
  • Lacks elite size
  • Play slows down when saddled with lots of play-calling demands
  • Dislocated hip to end sophomore season
  • Teams are worried about a knee injury
  • Teams are worried about Mosley entering the NFL banged up

  • Summary: The Alabama Crimson Tide have been the best program in college football over the past five years. The Tide has been led by a stout defense and running game to win three National Championships. Over the past few seasons Mosley has been arguably the best player on their defense. Mosley is a well-rounded defender that is ready to play in the NFL.

    Mosley was a 4-year contributor for the Crimson Tide defense. He had an excellent debut in 2010. The freshman was third on Alabama’s defense with 67 tackles. He also had 10 pass breakups with two interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns. Mosley split a starting role with linebacker Nico Johnson in 2011; Mosley was used more in pass defense. He also missed two games with a dislocated elbow, but ended up with 37 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and an interception.

    Mosley best season came as a junior as he played excellent football for Alabama in 2012. Mosley led the team with 107 tackles. He also notched two interceptions, four sacks, eight tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two passes broken up. Mosley has a real presence playing fast and physical football. Alabama’s other defenders struggled against Texas A&M in 2012, but he was excellent, making 14 tackles and a sack on Johnny Manziel.

    In 2013, Mosley totaled 102 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and five passes broken up. His best game of the season came against LSU. He was around the ball all night making tackles and having a physical presence. Mosley finished with 12 tackles, two passes broken up and 1.5 tackles for a loss, although he did drop an easy interception. His career didn’t end all that well with a below average game – by his standards – against Auburn.

    Sources have told WalterFootball.com that Mosley’s tape was better as a junior. During his senior year, Alabama had him handling all the checks and audibles. That slowed down Mosley and he didn’t play as free.

    Mosley is ready to plug and play in the NFL. He is a well-rounded defender who is good against the pass and the run. Mosley is excellent in pass coverage. He covers a lot of ground in zone, gets deep in his drop and has the potential to cover tight ends or backs in man coverage. An underrated skill that Mosley has is blitzing ability. He didn’t get a lot of opportunities in college, but when he did blitz, he was very effective at pressuring the quarterback. Mosley’s pass defending is a real strength and he should be an asset in pass coverage.

    Mosley developed his run defense while at Alabama and was very solid in his senior year as an every-down player. He is instinctive with a nose for the ball. Mosley is reliable tackler and has improved his ability to get off blocks.

    Mosley is also versatile. He could be an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense or an outside linebacker in a 4-3. Either system would work well for him.

    As we outlined in the rumormill, Mosley’s stock is on the decline with some teams. WalterFootball.com spoke with a playoff team in the 20s that is in the market for a linebacker; they like other linebackers more than Mosley. Another team told us that linebackers slide every year and that Mosley falling to the second round isn’t out of the question, just like Manti Te’o in the 2013 NFL Draft. Teams have concerns about a knee injury with Mosley and are worried about him being the latest Alabama player to enter the NFL banged up.

    Teams are downgrading the linebacker position and that hurts Mosley. He looks like a pick in the back half of the first round or early in the second round.

    Player Comparison: NaVorro Bowman. Scouts have told WalterFootball.com that they view Mosley like Bowman. Bowman (6-0, 242) is similar size to Mosley, and both players are versatile defenders who do everything well. They are very instinctive and have a nose for the football. In the 2010 NFL Draft, Bowman was a steal for the 49ers in the third round. Mosley should go much higher, in the back half of the first round or early in the second round. In the NFL, I think Mosley will be an impact linebacker like Bowman.

    NFL Matches: Dallas, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Denver, Houston, Washington

    There are a number of teams that could target Mosley in the back half of the first round or early in the second round. The highest that Mosley could hope to go would be to the Cowboys at No. 16. They could use an upgrade in the middle of the defense, and Mosley would be a nice fit as a Will (weakside) linebacker to play the Derrick Brooks role for Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli.

    The Packers could use more talent at middle linebacker. Mosley would be a long-term upgrade over A.J. Hawk. Like Green Bay, middle linebacker isn’t the biggest need for Philadelphia, but Mosley seems like a Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman type of defender.

    The Browns cut D’Qwell Jackson and signed an older veteran, Karlos Dansby. Mosley would be the long-term solution in the middle of Mike Pettine’s defense.

    Cincinnati could use help at linebacker after cutting James Harrison, and Rey Maualuga being in the final year of his contract. Mosley and Vontaze Burfict would be a good duo.

    The Saints could consider Mosley as an upgrade over Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne. Mosley would be well suited for Rob Ryan’s 3-4 defense.

    Denver could use an improvement at middle linebacker after losing Wesley Woodyard in free agency and having Nate Irving disappoint. Mosley would be a great fit for the Broncos at the end of the first round.

    If Mosley falls to the second round, he shouldn’t last long. The Texans still haven’t found a true replacement for DeMeco Ryans, and going back to Alabama could make sense for the Texans at No. 33. Right after Houston is Washington, which could use a good middle linebacker to bolster its defense.


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