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NFL Draft Under the Microscope: Alabama LB C.J. Mosley

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Leading up to the NFL draft on May 8-10, Shutdown Corner will examine some of the most interesting prospects in the class, breaking down their strengths and weaknesses.

C.J. Mosley
Linebacker
Alabama
6-foot-2, 234 pounds
2013 stats: 108 tackles (61 solo), 9 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits
40-yard dash: 4.63 seconds (unofficial time, at pro day)

The good: Mosley, first and foremost, produced. In 2013, he had 108 tackles, 30 more than anyone else on the defense. The year before, on Alabama's national championship team, he had 107 tackles, 48 more than anyone else on the Crimson Tide. He gets to the ball. Repeatedly. He has good size, speed and quickness, fantastic instincts, was coached by a great staff in college and put up big tackle numbers in the best conference in the nation. He can blitz or drop in coverage, and should be an immediate three-down starter in the NFL. No team, with so much reliance on nickel defense, is going to invest a high pick in a linebacker that can't stay on the field in passing situations. On top of all that, Mosley has a reputation for his high character off the field. For all of those reasons, Mosley is going to be a first-round pick.

The bad: There is an injury history with Mosley that is a bit concerning. He dislocated an elbow and a hip while at Alabama. He also had minor surgery on his shoulder after the 2012 season. It's never a great sign when a player has injury issues in college, because life certainly doesn't get easier in the NFL. Definitely not when you're taking on blockers as an inside linebacker. The rest of the knocks on Mosley are nitpicking. He didn't have any sacks or interceptions and had just one forced fumble in 2013, and you'd like to see more big plays if you're drafting a linebacker that high. He also had trouble over-pursuing on read-option plays, especially against Auburn, but he won't see a ton of that in the NFL. Also, with any Alabama player, you have to think about how much he benefited from being on a ridiculously talented roster full of four- and five-star recruits. Aside from the injuries, there's just not much bad to say about Mosley. 

The verdict: Mosley might not be a dynamic Luke Kuechly/NaVorro Bowman type of inside linebacker, but if he is durable enough he's going to have a very good, productive career. Think Paul Posluszny: a college superstar who continues to pile up big tackle numbers in the pros as an reliable every-down linebacker who has a great nose for the ball. Mosley will be a first-round pick, likely start as a rookie, and it's hard to imagine his NFL team regretting the selection.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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