Alabama in the Pros

Baltimore Ravens LB C.J. Mosley: “I’m ready to lead the team. It’s time to go”

Baltimore Ravens LB C.J. Mosley (#57): Evan Habeeb- USA TODAY Sports

He’s gone from being a rookie to a shining star in the National Football League in two seasons, yet the former Alabama standout is ready for more.

The Baltimore Ravens took a chance on C.J. Mosley, taking him with the 17th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Mosley, a native of Theodore, Ala., entered a franchise that needed a leader. Two years prior to drafting him, the Ravens lost its heart and soul on defense in middle linebacker Ray Lewis to retirement. His intensity on the field, leadership in the locker room and prime time dances resonated with coaches, players and fans around the league.

Mosley made waves in his rookie year, compiling 133 tackles (led all rookies), three sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two interceptions in all 16 regular-season games.

He guided the Ravens to a 10-6 record, clinching a playoff berth and earning individual honors. Mosley was selected to the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl and was named second-team All-Pro.

He won a spot on the All-Rookie Team, per Pro Football Writers Association and Pro Football Focus.

Despite missing the playoffs last season, Mosley had 117 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

He enters his third season with one thing on his mind, a leadership role.

Garrett Downing, a staff writer for BaltimoreRavens.com, caught up with Mosley two weeks ago. The linebacker who called every play in 2014 appears to be ready for more responsibilities.

“I’m ready to be back,” Mosley told Downing via WBAL radio. “I’m ready to lead the team. It’s time to go.”

Mosley, 23, was not much of a talker at Alabama, yet he desires to be more vocal next season. He will be without Daryl Smith and Courtney Upshaw, but Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith remain to back him up.

Mosley was the second Alabama linebacker under Nick Saban (Rolando McClain, 2009) and third in school history to win the Butkus Award. He earned the honor in 2013, after posting 106 tackles, nine tackles for loss, two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.

Mosley anchored the Crimson Tide to two national championships (2011-12) and a Southeastern Conference title in 2012. His tenure in Tuscaloosa ended as a two-time All-American (2012-13), a first-team All-SEC selection twice (2012-13), and the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year (2013).

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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