Want to hear how highly thought of C.J. Mosley was?
In 2012, the Carolina Panthers selected Luke Keuchly with the 9th overall pick. He immediately ascended to the upper echelon of the position in the NFL. The Carolina Panthers, since that draft, have steadily rose to the elite of the defensive ranks.
According to Ravens linebackers coach, Don Martindale, some people think C.J. Mosley is even better.
When asked what Mosley has to do to fulfill his potential, Martindale said, “I think it’s just [a matter of] time. I really do. He’s going to be a really good player. There are some people [that] said he’s the best linebacker that’s been in the last three drafts. I think it’s time and the more opportunities that he gets, which just means more games. I really do.”
Let’s state the obvious: Mosley isn’t better than Luke Keuchly. At least not right now, but the fact that some think he could be says plenty.
Obviously “some” is a vague term, but the fact that “some” think Mosley is better than Keuchly at this point is “some”thing to get excited about. A dominant inside linebacker is often the lynchpin that pushes a defense to the next level — see: Patrick Willis, Keuchly. If Mosley is indeed on that path, that is unbelievable news for the future of the Ravens defense.
And something that gets lost in the fold is the role of Arthur Brown — a player who falls within that three year span that Martindale mentioned. The Ravens haven’t been shy about declaring C.J. Mosley the leader in the competition, though Arthur Brown has made waves as well.
“‘A.B.’ has come miles. He has come miles from last year. The game is slowing down for him. That’s the biggest compliment that I can give him, and that’s why it looks like he’s playing faster. It’s just one of those things when you have great competition in the room,” Martindale said. “With the players that we have in our room, it’s just a battle that’s going on right now. And right now, C.J. is ahead.”
Daryl Smith — the player that is blocking Arthur Brown from playing time — has praised C.J. Mosley in a similar fashion, describing him as a player who soaks in everything around him.
“I think he listens well, soaks in everything that everybody has to say. We’re in meetings, and coach [Don] Martindale will ask a question, and people will answer, and I think he takes everything in,” Smith said. But he was quick to throw some cold water on the hype, making note that this is only the beginning of what will be a long journey for the Ravens rookie linebacker. And there is much work to do before he can be declared “elite.”
“We haven’t even gotten [to] the regular season yet,” Smith retorted when asked how Mosley can be a great player. “Once we get to the regular season and start playing some games and doing some things, actually get some game film out there, then we can discuss that. But right now it is way early, and we still have a lot of work to do.”
Smith — referred to by players and coaches as “Buck,” a name Baltimore already has an affinity for — is right to temper these sorts of comments, however that doesn’t change the quality of play and prospects of Mosley.