When the Ravens drafted C.J. Mosley with the 17th overall pick in May, they envisioned him being an impact starter from Day One, and the inside linebacker hasn't disappointed.
Mosley learned Tuesday that he was selected for the 2015 Pro Bowl, becoming the first Ravens rookie to achieve that feat. Mosley, who leads the team and ranks seventh in the NFL with 122 tackles, was one of three Ravens to be picked, joining right guard Marshal Yanda and outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil.
Running back Justin Forsett, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, kick returner Jacoby Jones and punter Sam Koch were all named as first alternates.
The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 25 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., the site of Super Bowl XLIV, which will be contested the following week.
In a statement released by the team, Mosley said that he was “honored and humbled” and thanked many members of the organization, including fellow inside linebacker Daryl Smith.
“With Daryl specifically, it’s meant so much having a person and player of his caliber next to me throughout my first NFL season,” Mosley said.
Mosley, Dallas Cowboys guard Zack Martin and St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald are the lone rookies on the Pro Bowl roster, which is selected via voting by fans, coaches and players.
For the second straight year, the players weren’t selected by conference, rather they were chosen out of a league-wide pool by position. The Pro Bowlers will be drafted onto two teams by Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin on Jan. 21.
If the Ravens send only three players to the game, it would mark their fewest Pro Bowl selections since 2005, when offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden was their lone representative.
The Ravens have had at least four Pro-Bowl honorees for eight straight seasons, and they figure to have at least that number by the time practices for the game begins next month. Players who are on teams that are preparing for the Super Bowl will withdraw from the game and there also will be additional vacancies because of players who drop out because of injuries or personal reasons.
If the Ravens aren’t preparing for the Super Bowl — assuming no ties, they need a victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and a loss by the San Diego Chargers against the Kansas City Chiefs to even make the playoffs — some of their alternates will likely be elevated into the Pro Bowl.
That would be particularly significant for a veteran like Koch, who has punted for nine NFL seasons but has never garnered a Pro Bowl invite. Koch is averaging 47.4 yards per punt, which is a career high. The Cincinnati Bengals’ Kevin Huber and the Indianapolis Colts’ Pat McAfee were the punters selected.
Pro Bowl recognition would also further validate Forsett’s comeback season. Contemplating retirement this offseason after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Forsett instead signed a 1-year deal with the Ravens and has become one of their top offensive weapons. His 1,147 rushing yards are a career-high and rank sixth in the NFL.
Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers), DeMarco Murray (Cowboys), Jamaal Charles (Chiefs), Arian Foster (Houston Texans), Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks) and LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles) were the six running backs selected.
The three Ravens who made it were hardly major surprises. There were some questions about whether Mosley get the invite, given his rookie status. However, the linebacker had a high-profile college career at Alabama and he’s emerged as one of the leading candidates for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
To go along with his team-high in tackles, Mosley also has three sacks, two interceptions, eight passes defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
“The main thing is I made it through a full NFL season, so kudos to that,” Mosley said. “I held on strong. It’s a great compliment for the organization and for me as a player.”
Dumervil, meanwhile, is having one of the best seasons of his career. His 17 sacks tie a career high, set with the Denver Broncos in 2009, and also represent a single-season Ravens record. He’s currently third in the NFL in sacks, behind the Chiefs’ Justin Houston (18) and the Texans’ J.J. Watt (17 ½ ).
This is Dumervil’s fourth Pro Bowl selection as he also made the team in 2009, 2011 and 2012 while playing for the Broncos.
“This is a humbling experience,” Dumervil said in a statement. “First of all, I want to thank God, because without Him, this would not be possible. So many people played a part in this, and I just want to thank them all — my teammates, our great coaching staff and our tremendous fans. To be able to represent the Ravens organization and the long tradition of great defensive players here is very humbling.
“I also credit Terrell Suggs for helping me this season. A lot of what I’ve been able to do is a result of the attention he garners on the opposite side. He’s an incredible player who is having another outstanding year, and it’s an honor to play with him.”
Yanda was a Pro Bowl honoree for a fourth straight season.
The veteran guard, a mainstay on the Ravens’ offensive line since 2007, has started the first 15 games and his play has been one of the keys to the Ravens’ resurgent running game.