The Baltimore Ravens got an outstanding player when they selected linebacker C.J. Mosley out of Alabama in the first round (No. 17 overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft. Mosley immediately took over as one of the leaders on the defense.
Edge rusher, Terrell Suggs was one of the few remaining players who played alongside Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis at the time. Having been a part of the Ravens 2012 Super Bowl team, Suggs has seen the impact a middle linebacker can have on the defense.
Suggs views Mosley as the next elite player to man the middle for the Ravens.
"He’s half-man, half-amazing. C.J.’s done some great things, and he’s getting better and better every time that he takes the field, coming into his own," Suggs said via the Ravens' team site last year. "That’s what we’re known for here. But C.J.’s play kind of speaks for itself."
Baltimore picked up the fifth-year option for Mosley's rookie contract in April, which assures that he will be in a Ravens uniform in 2019. However, if the team wants to do right by Mosley, they'll sign him to a long-term deal.
Head coach John Harbaugh has grown close to Mosley over the past few years and wants to keep him around in the future.
"He’s a great player. He’s a great person. He’s special in every way," Harbaugh told reporters in March. "I do expect him to be playing for us for a long time."
Mosley has become a complete player and one of the top linebackers in the NFL. He posted a career-high 132 tackles last season, 96 of them were solo tackles.
As a run stuffer, it's almost like Mosley has a built-in GPS device to track the football and turbo boosters to run down ball carriers. Mosley also managed to register a career-high three forced fumbles in 2017.
The ability to defend the pass is equally as impressive. Mosley managed to break up seven passes last season. He finished last season with two interceptions, one of which was returned 63 yards for a touchdown.
The body of work is evident. Mosley has checked in with at least seven pass breakups every year of his career. He had four interceptions in 2016.
As a rookie, Mosley had three sacks and two interceptions. He followed his rookie season with four sacks in his second year.
Simply put, Mosley is the heart of the Ravens defense and arguably their defensive MVP. Baltimore will have to commit a substantial amount of money to sign Mosley to a long-term deal.
Signing Mosley will likely lead to a deal similar to the five-year, $50 million contract the Minnesota Vikings used to lock up inside linebacker Erik Kendricks.
Fortunately, the Ravens won't have to worry about the looming contract extension hanging over Mosley's head. He is focused on being a great football and letting everything else work itself out.
"I’m not really worried about it. I’m here just like everybody else to get better, to get ready for the new season and try to accomplish our goals," Mosley said during a press conference in April. "All the contract stuff that's what upstairs and my agent do. That’s why I pay him that three percent for it. I just play football."