Height/weight: 6’2”, 234 lbs.
Lost in the speculation about which defensive lineman, safety or offensive lineman - Sportscenter had the Cowboys taking OT Zack Martin with the no. 16 pick in its mock draft Wednesday - will land in Dallas, is the fact that linebacker was a position decimated by injuries in 2013, and an area where the ‘Boys could be looking to make an upgrade on draft day. Alabama’s CJ Mosley is a candidate to be that upgrade that has shown up in more mock drafts as Thursday’s draft day nears.
Mosley is a two-time National Champion who recorded back-to-back 100-tackle seasons in his final two years with the Crimson Tide. Mosley was a consensus first-team All-American in each of those season, and he was a finalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker, in 2013. He didn’t redshirt, playing all four years for the stalwart Alabama defense.
Mosley is regarded as the top linebacker prospect in the 2014 draft.
Why he’s a good fit for the Cowboys
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said that Mosley is capable of playing in either a 3-4 defense or the 4-3 defense, but is a better fit as a Mike (middle) linebacker in a 4-3 set, the scheme the Cowboys will use.
"In today's game, that Mike linebacker has a lot of coverage responsibilities,” Jeremiah said, according to the Miami-based Sun Sentinel. “I think he's very good in coverage. I think he's an excellent blitzer. But the most impressive aspect of his game is his instincts.”
That Sun Sentinel article suggests that Mosley will go at no. 19 to the Dolphins.
There have been musings about Dallas moving current Mike linebacker Sean Lee to an outside linebacker role, which would open the door for a playmaker like Mosley to play inside linebacker. Mosley has great athleticism - his 4.63 second 40-yard dash time at Alabama’s Pro Day would’ve ranked eighth among ILBs at the combine, and his 35-inch vertical leap was second best at his position. This athleticism and explosiveness allows Mosley to be flexible in playing either linebacker position. Lee has played in just 17 games over the last two years.
Coincidentally, Mosley measured in at 6-foot-2, 234 lbs. at the combine - the exact same height and weight as Lee, according to Lee’s Cowboys player page.
A perfect fit?
It’s hard to find a lot of things about Mosley’s game that suggest he wouldn’t be a good fit in Dallas. He is capable of playing in any scheme, and could play the weak side or middle linebacker role, to defend the short pass or disrupt in the backfield. He did a little of both against LSU in 2013.
If Lee slid over to Bruce Carter’s weak side LB position, Mosley could be the new man in the middle of the Dallas defense. But, alas, Stephen Jones denied that thought process in a recent radio interview on 105.3 The Fan.
“We’ve discussed a lot of things, that’s not one of them,” Jones said. “To be candid with you, I don’t think we’re really leaning that way.”
Mosley would make a lot of sense for the Cowboys, and is likely to be available at the no. 16 selection. The biggest factor in him not being the Cowboys’ first pick, if he is in fact available, is that defensive line and safety could still be considered more pressing areas of need. It’s a deep draft at defensive line, and not particularly at inside linebacker, but it all comes down to the discussions inside the war room Thursday - discussions that have led to questionable draft day decisions in the past.