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Alabama has a rich history of producing NFL talent, most notably on the defensive side of the ball. There are 36 former Alabama players in the professional ranks, 21 on the defensive side of the ball, five of which are linebackers.
And the NFL should prepare for No. 6.
After a decorated college career, C.J. Mosley is projected to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft. Mosley has led the Crimson Tide in tackles in two straight years, earning first-team All-SEC honors in both seasons. Historically speaking, Mosley ranks third in program history in terms of career tackles. Mosley was also the Butkus Award winner and a unanimous All-American after posting four sacks, a pair of picks, and more than 100 tackles, again, but won a handful of honors from his teammates, too.
Mosley was voted Outstanding Defensive Performer, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Inspiring Player, and Most Valuable Player by his peers, so it shouldn’t be a question of what kind of teammate and performer — both on and off the field — he is.
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Mosley is the No. 13 player on Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board and No. 1 among inside linebackers. Kiper touts him on his versatility as both a coverage backer as well as a fleet-to-foot tackler. He does need to improve his strength, though, Kiper adds. He’s ranked No. 8 overall by ESPN Scouts Inc. and the No. 3 linebacker.
CBS Sports likens Mosley to Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David, who exhibits a combination of toughness, instincts, and superb athleticism. David really reemerged as a key member of the Bucs’ defense this season, leading the team in tackles, tackles for loss, and interceptions. Mosley has even been compared to Ray Lewis.
He’s expected to slide in a weakside role in a 4-3 defense or an inside position in a 3-4.
Like many of his former teammates and ‘Bama alumni, Mosley is projected to land somewhere in the first round as the first inside backer to come off the board. All signs point to him landing somewhere between picks No. 8-13 though, of course, new head coaches could come into play.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume the first four teams picking in the draft elect to go offense, then Jadaveon Clowney would be the first defensive player off the board. The Cleveland Browns (No. 6) will likely follow the offensive trend and the Bucs already have a fit inside.
That leaves the Minnesota Vikings at No. 8, Tennessee Titans at No. 10, and the New York Giants at No. 11 as the most likely landing spots for Mosley. Minnesota will have to decide what they want to do with Erin Henderson, who was arrested earlier this month, while Tennessee must figure out if Moise Fokou is the answer. Former fourth-rounder Colin McCarthy has battled injuries throughout his career.
Mosley should not get past the Giants, though, as they have struggled to find adequate backers over the past two seasons.
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