How C.J. Mosley Improved as a Senior & What Makes Him So Good

We all knew as a Junior C.J. Mosley was a great player. He still had flaws in is game, even as a potential 1st rounder. It was wise for him to go back and improve on this, and that’s exactly what he did.

Take On Skills

While this is still a work in progress, he’s come along way in fixing this. Mosley does a good job of attacking oncoming blockers while leaving the proper shoulder free so he can still make the tackle. These aren’t always the sexy plays, but it’s the right play.

 

Mosley attacks the ball carrier as if there’s no one in between the two. A year ago you’d see false steps and hesitation on this play.

When there are false steps, Mosley still has shown the ability to what I would call setting blockers up, just to disenage and make the play.

What’s most impressive about Mosley’s game in that “phone booth” area, is his ability to work through the trash. He waits, and waits, and waits, then sees the crease, and explodes to the ball carrier. It’s comparative to a running back waiting for a hole to develop and bursting through.

 

Snap Anticipation

This is an underrated trait for a linebacker, especially as a blitzing linebacker. This is an area where Mosley excels. He’s excellent at timing the snap, whether in the run game where he can shoot through the hole and beat the lineman to the spot, or he’s blitzing.

For the crowd that don’t like Mosley’s take on skills, plays like this are why I’m not really worried.

Plays like the GIF above where he can hit the Quarterback lead to tip drills, which lead to interceptions.

Look at what Mosley does to the right guard. Catches him off guard and he ends up on his back. This will lead to disruption. Perhaps causing the QB to make the throw before he wants, or the lineman falling into the QB. So much good can happen from Snap anticipation.

Coverage Skills

One of the reasons I was jumping up and down last year for Kiko Alonso is because he could cover. A running back, a tight end, sometimes even a slot receiver. Mosley is in the exact same boat. Teams are trending towards being in their Nickel defense upwards to 60% of the snaps now in the NFL, if you don’t have linebackers that can cover, you won’t have a good 3rd down defense, and you’re not getting off the field.

Mosley has great instincts. He’s probably a high 4.6 guy, but he plays so much faster, because his eyes take him to where he’s supposed to be. In zone coverage, he excels at getting depth and reading the quarterbacks eyes. This allows him to get into throwing lanes and disrupting plays.

Most linebackers would stick with 17, the slot receiver. Because Mosley reads the quarterback, he knows exactly where to be. That was a big stop on 4th down.

The next two GIFs show Mosley’s range. Both vertically and horizontally.

Mosley does an incredible job of riding the tight end all the way up the seam. He gets his head around, tips the ball and forces an interception. There aren’t many linebackers at the next level who can turn and run like Mosley.

Mosley starts out in the middle, reads the swing pass to the running back, and gets from point A to point B in a blink of an eye. This shows that Mosley is far from restricted to a linear athlete. Outstanding recognition here.

Grade/Final Thought

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10   8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round   8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round   7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round   7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round   7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round   6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round   6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round   5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round   5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round   4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations   4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable     < 4.0

 

Trait Weight Grade
Vs. The Run 4 3.7
Coverage 4 3.9
Read & React 3 2.9
Tackling 2 1.9
Range 2 2
Change of Direction 2 1.9
Take on Skills 2 1.6
Pass Rush Ability 2 1.8
Athleticism 2 1.8
Size 2 1.6

Mosley grades out to an 8.32 for me. Mosley does the small things that you appreciate, like run his feet on contact, or not overrunning plays. There’s a lot of Lavonte David to his game. He’s incredible in coverage, has the ability to read, react, and work through the trash in the run game, and knows how to finish plays. I’ve seen nothing to think Mosley won’t be disruptive at the next level.