OWINGS MILLS — In March, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart told USA Today of new Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, “If you want to find C.J., just look for the ball.”
Mosley, who the Ravens took with their top pick in the draft Thursday night, has said before that he patterns his game after Carolina Panthers star inside linebacker Luke Kuechly. And to Smart, that’s who he plays like.
Smart, Alabama coach Nick Saban and the Ravens all describe Mosley the same way — smart, instinctive and tough with a knack for making big plays.”
And like Kuechly did for the Panthers after they drafted him in 2012, Baltimore expects Mosley to make an immediate impact in his rookie.
The Ravens already have Daryl Smith at one inside linebacker spot. They also have 2013 second-round pick Arthur Brown, who was the favorite prior to the draft to start at the other inside linebacker position. But Mosley can play both spots, and Baltimore defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Thursday, “This guy is going to find his way onto the field.”
“We want to get back to the top on defense,” Pees said, “and we think this is the guy right here that can lead us in that direction.”
Mosley was a first-team All-American at Alabama the last two seasons.
He has all of those aforementioned qualities. Baltimore inside linebackers coach Don Martindale also said of Mosley, “He uses his hands in getting off blocks better than anybody I’ve seen in the 10 years I’ve been in this league.”
“This guy is a three-down linebacker,” Pees said. “There’s no question about it. He’s not just a run-stopping guy. I read a couple things where they said he’s better against the run than the pass. They didn’t watch the same film I watched.
“I’ll tell you what, this guy is pretty good against the pass, [too].”