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Ravens introduce first-round pick C.J. Mosley, envision him as a three-down linebacker

FootballPro FootballBaltimore RavensAlabama Crimson TideCollege SportsArthur BrownNFL

Wearing a gray pinstriped suit, Ravens first-round draft pick C.J. Mosley was all business during his introductory press conference Friday afternoon at team headquarters.

The former Alabama star linebacker displayed his usual low-key personality as his parents proudly looked on from the front row of the Ravens' auditorium.

"Off this field, it's just who I am," said Mosley, who will wear the No. 57 jersey previously worn by Ravens linebackers Bart Scott and O.J. Brigance. "I'm a laid-back guy, just kind of stick to myself sometimes. On the field, I'm doing what I love. So, all the passion and all the energy that I have, it goes onto the football field."

Drafted 17th overall, Mosley won the Butkus Award as the top linebacker in the nation and was named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He recorded 319 career tackles, 6.5 sacks, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

The Ravens regard Mosley as a three-down linebacker equally capable of stopping the run, dropping back into pass coverage or operating as a blitzer. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees didn't anoint Mosley as an instant starter, but that's what's expected to happen.

Mosley is expected to compete with 2012 second-round pick Arthur Brown for the starting job at weak-side inside linebacker next to veteran middle linebacker Daryl Smith, who was signed to a four-year, $16 million contract in March after leading the Ravens in tackles last season. The Ravens could always shift Mosley to middle linebacker down the road and have Brown line up next to him at weak-side linebacker.

"This guy will find his way onto the field, and it will be competition," Pees said. "Nothing is going to be handed to him. He knows that. Obviously, we think he can get on the field or you wouldn't draft him in the first round. .. We want to get back to the top on defense, and we think this is the guy right here that can lead us in that direction."

Mosley recorded 108 tackles, nine for losses last season for the Crimson Tide.

"Smart, tough, instinctive, fluid smooth," inside linebackers coach Don "Wink" Martindale said. "I put in my report how he uses his hands in getting off blocks better than anybody I've seen in the 10 years that I've been in this league."

The Ravens envision Mosley operating in a versatile role based on his background at Alabama.

"I don't think we would draft a guy that we didn't think could be on the field for three downs," Pees said. "Yes, this guy is a three-down linebacker. There's no question about it. This is not just a run-stopping guy. I've read a couple things where everybody says, 'He's really good against the run, better against the run than the pass.'

"They didn't watch the same film I watched. This guy is pretty good against the pass as far as I'm concerned. This guy, I wouldn't take him off the field against any passing team. That's for sure. Yes, I think he's a three-down linebacker."

Mosley visited the Ravens prior to the draft at their training complex and also met with Pees at his Pro Day where he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds.

Pees, who worked for Alabama coach Nick Saban at Toledo and Michigan State, said that there's some familiarity with the Ravens' schemes for Mosley.

"I threw a couple of terms at him, and he just kind of smiled and laughed at them because they were the exact same terms that they used at Alabama," Pees said. "Having been with coach Saban for four years myself, I knew a lot of the terminology.Sometimes it's not a great fit when people come here and they've played in the same one front and one coverage all the time.

"This guy hasn't. He's had to control the front and make those calls and make those checks up front. That's one of the things that I really, really liked about the system that he came from."

Mosley said he looks forward to chasing around former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel in the AFC North division now that "Johnny Football" was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round.

"I hope I get another sack on him," Mosley said. "It's going to be fun. He was a great player, a a great person. So, I wish him much success in the NFL with his team."

Mosley has drawn praise for his leadership qualities, and he expects to display them again in the NFL in his own understated style.

"Being an inside linebacker, you have to be the leader because you're running the defense, you're running the show," Mosley said. "As far as me being a natural leader, I'm more of a leader by example. My senior year, I kind of trained myself to be more of a vocal leader."

awilson@baltsun.com

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FootballPro FootballBaltimore RavensAlabama Crimson TideCollege SportsArthur BrownNFL
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