Heading into camp, there’s seems to only be two logical contenders in the battle for the vacant spot that was occupied by Jameel McClain for the better part of the last four seasons. Arthur Brown, the 2nd year LB out of Kansas State is in the red corner, and C.J Mosley, the Two-Time All-American and the Ravens 2014 1st round pick out of Alabama will be in the blue corner.
Who will be in the starting line-up next to Daryl Smith when September rolls around?
Let’s take a look at the contenders:
The Challenger: Arthur Brown
The starting spot at Will LB looked to be Brown’s job to lose until the Ravens drafted the highly-touted C.J Mosley in the 1st round of this year’s draft. Now, Brown will be locked in a battle for the starting spot all Summer long, a battle that the majority of pundits think he will be the underdog in against the rookie from Alabama.
After a 2013 rookie season that saw the 23-year-old Brown used on mainly ST and as a reserve LB ( 14 games, 15 tackles, .5 sack), he should be coming into camp motivated and set on proving the doubters wrong with an excellent pre-season. After all, he did have an excellent two seasons as the leader of KSU’s Defense in 2011 and 2012 (201 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 int’s) and he was the Ravens 2nd round pick just a year ago.
A great athlete and a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker with excellent instincts, tackling ability and an outstanding football IQ, Brown has a ton of potential. It’s not a matter of if Brown will break through in the NFL, it’s only a matter of when.
As for this season, the odds are against him in the battle against Mosley, but he will be on his heels all summer. Regardless if he does beat out the rookie, Brown should see an increase in snaps on D in 2014 with the hopes that he can land a full-time starting role in 2015.
The (Two-Time) Champion: C.J Mosley
After an outstanding collegiate career in which the 21-year-old Mosley racked up 319 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 5 interceptions in 51 games (29 started) at Alabama, he looks to make an instant dynamic impact on the Ravens D in 2014, and he could very well end up winning the NFL’s DROY award if he does lock up the starting Will LB spot next to Daryl Smith this summer.
When you look at Mosley, it’s definitely not a stretch to say he could be the face of the Ravens D for the next decade. A 1st-Team All-SEC selection and All-American in 2012 and 2013, Mosley also won the Butkus Award for the nation’s top LB in 2013 after finishing in 3rd place for the Award in 2012, and won the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award after posting 108 tackles (Led team for 2nd straight year), 9.0 TFL, 5 PD’s and 10 QBH for the Crimson Tide in 13 games.
Mosley is a player that displays exceptional skills at reading and reacting to the play as it develops, and is a true sideline-to-sideline defender with outstanding tackling ability. But on top of his skill set, he is also the type of player you can build a Defense around with his excellent work ethic, high-motor, leadership in between the lines and his amazing character on and off the field.
The sky is the limit for #57, and all signs point to him lining up next to #51 on September 7th.