Alabama in the Pros

Former NFL receiver says C.J. Mosley looks “tremendous” at Jets training camp

CJ Mosley excited
Tommy Gilligan - USA TODAY Sports

After anchoring the defense of the Baltimore Ravens for five seasons and helping the franchise capture an AFC North title in 2018, C.J. Mosley decided to take his talents to the New York Jets in free agency and a contract worth $85 million for five years was the selling point. 

He takes over as defensive captain for a team desperate to get out of the shadows of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC East.

The Jets are in training camp and while many reporters have their focused centered on Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell, a former National Football League receiver was paying more attention to Mosley and New York’s defense. 

Steve Smith Sr., a 15-year NFL veteran, was a second-round pick in the 2001 draft from the University of Utah. Despite his size at 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds, he became one of the league most prolific wide outs for the Carolina Panthers (2001-13) and Baltimore Ravens (2014-16). 

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He recorded 14,731 receiving yards 4,055 return yards and 87 touchdowns (six return scores) during his tenure; however, his conversation shifted to a former teammate as Smith is an analyst for NFL Network and was present at Jets’ camp.

He spent his final three NFL seasons with Mosley and in watching him grow, the analyst knows exactly what New York is getting. 

“He’s bulked up a little bit to play that Mike linebacker and in playing in Greg Williams’ defense, he looks tremendous,” Smith said of Mosley. “He looks great.” 

Mosley has never been a huge talker. 

Whether it was high school days at Theodore (Ala.) or at the University of Alabama, being a conversationalist is not his thing. It was Mosley’s play on the field that had him twice named All-American, twice named to first-team All-SEC, winning the Butkus Award and winning the Southeastern Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.

He collected 317 tackles in four seasons – including back-to-back 100+ tackles in 2012 and 2013.  

Mosley was a member on two BCS National Championship teams (2011-12) and he would be selected in the first round (No. 17 overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. The four-time Pro Bowl selection provides defenses with another coach on the field, especially with his instincts. 

“He is very vocal on the field,” Smith said of Mosely to Jets’ reporter, Ethan Greenberg. 

“As far as telling guys where to line up, he is going to do that. That’s where he speaks the most. He allows his football pads to speak so much more and it’s exciting to see that.” 

Smith even gave kudos to Mosley’s younger brother, Jamey, who the Jets signed as an undrafted free agent.

He played for the Crimson Tide from 2014 to 2018 and was a big part of the program winning the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2017. 

Having both guys on one team is special, but C.J. is about the change the narrative for the Jets. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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