Ravens' linebacker C.J. Mosley is currently in a race for the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year honor. Pro Football Focus broke down and ranked each rookie, regardless of offensive or defensive position, based on their metrics and gave a little reasoning for their ranking at that spot.
Currently the site has Aaron Donald, the defensive tackle from St. Louis ranked as their champion with a ranking of +22.0. They mention that he has been a force to be reckoned with, and that he was able to become a starter on the Rams' defensive line. While that is a huge accomplishment, the defensive tackle position doesn't often come with the stats that warrant consideration into the contest. With only 3 sacks currently and 24 tackles, Donald might be a force to be reckoned with on a top tier defensive line, but he just doesn't make the splash that you see from the DROtY winners.
Next up is Khalil Mack, the linebacker from Oakland with a ranking of +22.7. Their reasoning is that his ability as an edge setter and pressure he gets on the quarterback weights better than his low sack total. Personally, Mack is really the only competition that I see Mosley having for this award. Mack gets some bonus points for being fantastic on a terrible Raider team, but he gets knocked for being an outside linebacker with 0 sacks and only 1 forced fumble. A lack of satisfying numbers in the sack total or in tackles (currently has 51 total tackles) means that he will likely be overtaken by Mosley with those that like the flashy numbers better.
In the third and fourth positions, PFF ranks offensive linemen. Unfortunately for Zack Martin and Joel Bitonio, there has yet to be a lineman that has won any rookie of the year honors. So for that, I'm going to just ignore those guys and come up to PFF's fifth ranked guy.
At number five is C.J. Mosley with his ranking of +13.2. They mention that Mosley has played well but can improve which is true. They also note that with what Mosley has shown so far, it gets them excited on what type of player he'll be for years to come. The reason that the Raven takes home the nod is simply from his numbers. While Mosley doesn't have the sack total of some other guys, the position and scheme that the Ravens run doesn't ask Mosley to apply pressure but to scrape down the line to tackle the ball carrier and to drop into coverage. With that focus, Mosley has been one of the best in the NFL at his position, much less just out of the rookies. Currently sitting at 90 tackles in 10 games, the Ravens linebacker is sixth in the entire NFL in tackle totals. Mosley's two interceptions currently ties him for first in the NFL among linebackers as does his seven pass deflections. A forced fumble and fumble recovery only adds to the impressive resume from the young linebacker. Tie that all in to the storyline of Mosley being Ray Lewis' replacement and you have all the makings of a trophy going home with the Ravens newest linebacker.
Is there anyone else out there that you think deserves the award over C.J. Mosley at this point? If so, feel free to share why in the comments.