(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held May 8-10, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley).
Height/Weight:6-2 / 234
Honors: Butkus Award winner in 2013 as nation's top linebacker. Took home SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and was a first-team All-American and All-SEC pick in 2012 & 2013. To wrap up his junior season, Mosley earned Defensive MVP honors in the 2013 BCS national championship game vs. Notre Dame, recording eight tackles. He was voted a freshman All-American in 2010.
Key stat:Played in 51 of 53 games in his four-year career in the rugged SEC. His only two games he missed – in 2011 of his sophomore year – occurred from a dislocated elbow injury midway through the year.
Where He's Projected:His projection is tricky because of his medical history. While he's only missed two games, he's got plenty of bumps and bruises, including a shoulder injury that prevented him from participating in every drill at the combine. Mosley is still considered a mid- to late-first round pick. There is a good shot he'd be sitting there for the Cowboys at No. 16.
How He Helps the Cowboys:An established, heady linebacker that knows how to get to the football would be useful for all defenses, no matter if it's a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. Mosley has the instincts to play middle linebacker but would likely be better suited for the outside right now. He'd help the Cowboys if he could come right in and be healthy enough to start. However, there's no guarantees he'd beat out Bruce Carter, or even the promising young backers such as Kyle Wilber and DeVonte Holloman. But Mosley has plenty of talent and with a linebacker corps that has been hit hard by the injury bug, especially to middle linebacker Sean Lee, acquiring playmaking depth here would be a great asset.
Scout's Take: Mosley is one of those players you need to keep an eye on for the Cowboys in this draft. His grade on the board will most likely allow him to be available when it comes time to select. [embedded_ad]
Physically, he is an impressive player in regards to his ability to take on blocks, disengage and finish the play. H keeps his feet active, and is wrap-up tackler – he gets his man on the ground with force. He's more than willing to step up and take the fullback on in the hole. Has the awareness and vision to work down the line. Does a nice job of getting to the ball once he sees it -- will play around blocks and can avoid men on the ground.
Tends to use his shoulder more than his hands to play off blocks, which is surprising because of the issues he has had with his shoulder. Reads then attacks the ball. Can knife through inside. Physical in the hole. Will step up and make the play. Has a feel for how to make plays at the point of attack. Does not get knocked back. Reads the quarterback's eyes in his drop. Can tackle big backs in space, no problem.
Importantly for the Cowboys, Mosley has a feel for how to rush the passer. He will retrace his steps when he rushes the passer to get back to the ball. More power than technique here. Good to read in the flat and react. Can get in the throwing lanes and knock the ball down.
Another key for the Cowboys is that Mosley shows the awareness to play in pass coverage. Nice change of direction in his game. Doesn't struggle in movement, despite his size. Doesn't give up on the play, and he will play off the block and chase the ball. Had problems with his balance in the Texas A&M game.
I think he'd most likely play as a Mike or Sam linebacker in this scheme. I believe he could cover well enough to play in the middle of the defense. More explosive than he is quick or fast – the type of guy that can be a load at the point when taking on blocks. Has a nose for the ball and can finish. Is the best middle linebacker in the draft. Of course, you have to know that he has an injury history. No doubt that he is a first round talent. Was the backbone of a nationally-ranked defense and is the type of talent that you plug in and play with. -- Bryan Broaddus