DeMeco Ryans had a pretty good year for the Eagles in 2013. However, he’ll be 30 going into this season and you have to question how long he’ll stay with the Eagles. He’s a great leader, but the Eagles may look to bring in someone a bit younger in the middle that can also step in and be a leader on the defense.
One option they could look at is Alabama insider linebacker C.J. Mosley. At 6-2 and 234 pounds, Mosley is a guy I’ve seen Eagles fans showing a lot of interest in recently. He was a key piece in the middle of Alabama’s high powered defense and is a two-time All American.
Mosley isn’t an overly large linebacker, but there are plenty of linebackers in the NFL who have proven to be tackling machines with a smaller frame. Patrick Willis, Luke Kuechly, and NaVorro Bowman all have a similar build to Mosley on paper.
Mosley is one of those players that just seems to have natural instincts and other intangibles that you can’t coach. He doesn’t have great speed, but he puts himself in a position to make plays by taking good angles and just playing smart. His hands are solid and he has the ability to break free from bigger lineman and keeps his eyes on the ball carrier.
When it comes to coverage, Mosley can’t run with some of the faster players out of the backfield. However, he can hold his own against players that are faster than him because he plays smart.
Check out this video of Mosley against LSU, via Draft Analysis.
The inside linebacker position may not be considered a top priority for the Eagles when it comes to their needs for 2014. However, he could definitely work his way into the lineup and be a contributor on the defense. The Eagles have made it clear that need isn’t the most important characteristic they consider when they approach the draft. Instead, they are focused on adding the most talented players they can when they make their picks, regardless of what other players are on the roster.
Mosley projects as a mid to late first round pick so he could very well be on the board at 22. The Eagles lack a lot of leadership on the defensive side of the ball and it’s not very clear who the long-term leader of the defensive unit will be. When it comes to leadership, the linebacker position is generally the first spot you look. Mosley could potentially be a long-term leader on the defense.
Nobody will know how the Eagles big board looks when the draft rolls around. We do know that they want to take whoever they believe is the best player available on the board when they do make their pick. Although Mosley doesn’t fit into a position that jumps out at a position where the need is extremely high, it’s hard to deny the impact he could make on the defense for years to come.
If he is still around at 22 for the Eagles, I have to believe that he’ll be in the conversation as they determine who to take.