OWINGS MILLS - In March, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart told USA Today of new Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, "If you want to find C.J., just look for the ball."
Mosley, who the Ravens took with their top pick in the draft Thursday night, has said before that he patterns his game after Carolina Panthers star inside linebacker Luke Kuechly. And to Smart, that's who he plays like.
Smart, Alabama coach Nick Saban and the Ravens all describe Mosley the same way - smart, instinctive and tough with a knack for making big plays."
And like Kuechly did for the Panthers after they drafted him in 2012, Baltimore expects Mosley to make an immediate impact in his rookie.
The Ravens already have Daryl Smith at one inside linebacker spot. They also have 2013 second-round pick Arthur Brown, who was the favorite o start at the other inside linebacker position prior to the draft. But Mosley can play both spots, and Baltimore defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Thursday, "This guy is going to find his way onto the field."
"We want to get back to the top on defense," Pees said, "and we think this is the guy right here that can lead us in that direction."
Mosley took over as a full-time starter at Alabama as a junior in 2012, and he was a first-team All-American each of the last two seasons.
He had 99 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, four sacks and two interceptions as a junior and 108 tackles, including nine for a loss as a senior last year.
Baltimore inside linebackers coach Don Martindale said of Mosley, "He uses his hands in getting off blocks better than anybody I've seen in the 10 years I've been in this league."
"This guy is a three-down linebacker," Pees said. "There's no question about it. He's not just a run-stopping guy. I read a couple things where they said he's better against the run than the pass. They didn't watch the same film I watched.
"I'll tell you what, this guy is pretty good against the pass, [too]."
Mosley is quiet and soft-spoken, as he was during his introductory news conference Thursday, but he is excited for his opportunity in Baltimore.
He met with the Ravens multiple times during the pre-draft process and had an official visit with Baltimore in April.
"[It's been] a long ride since January and our last bowl game," Mosley said. "I can finally say that it is over, and I'm ready to be a Raven, ready to get on the football field and prove to the fans, prove to the coaches that I'm ready to play and help this team win."
NOTE: Mosley will wear No. 57 with the Ravens.