The Raven Organization, and its fan base, have been burned before. Just like any team. Remember Sergio Kindle and his greatest opponent, the staircase? Personally, I thought Tandon Doss was going to be the steal of the draft. JOE FLACCO PICKED HIM - HE IS THE FUTURE. Burned and burned.
The list of draft flops and disappointments goes far beyond any two players. Every football team has its fair share. The draft is usually a crap shoot. But once in a while there comes about as sure of thing as a team, or fan, could hope for. By all accounts thus far, CJ Mosley is that and some.
With sterling grades thus far from OTA's and mini camps, Mosley appears ready to join the starting lineup. But what can we reasonably expect from the rookie out of Alabama?
Leadership - A great deal has been made about Mosley's ability to lead a defense. He did it at Alabama, earning him Nick Saban's hearty endorsement. But where does he fit in with the Ravens defense from a leadership standpoint? It is unlikely that the young linebacker steps in and immediately starts barking orders - Daryl Smith should take care of that. But I am eager to see how quickly he takes control of his markings and becomes and example for future rookies to learn from. He was chosen 17th overall with the intention that he would one day lead this defense. He doesn't have to be Ray Lewis 2.0 in order to step in early and dictate defensive play. I'm looking to see how he looks in Preseason when the veterans sit. I think it is fair to assume he takes control as the Preseason games pile up.
The Arthur Brown Factor - It is a certainty that Mosley will see plenty of reps with the first team in training camp. However, Arthur Brown will likely see snaps as well. Keep an eye on how often these two are switching in and out. Mosley is the favorite, but such is the nature of being a fresh first round pick. Arthur Brown still has a very high ceiling and don't expect the Ravens to sit a 2nd round pick if he is playing well. These two are both the future. Still it is fair to assume Mosley retains a hold on the starting spot opposite Smith.
Pass Coverage - Mosley has received attention for his coverage skills. This is becoming an essential skill for three down linebackers as the league becomes more and more pass friendly and as tight ends gets faster and bigger. Mosley will most likely pick up on the schemes early which should allow him to focus on his play. Look for Mosley to struggle early against TE's like Pitta, Daniels and Vernon Davis (those joint practices are coming). This should only serve to prepare him for the regular season, where I expect we will be impressed.
Mosley was a bit of a disappointment pick for me, upon initial reaction. I wanted that FLASHY pick, i.e. a receiver because I'm dumb. But stepping back and objectively observing the situation and CJ appears to be about as much of a home run as the Ravens could ask for. No one is a guarantee, but don't expect CJ Mosley to burn anyone any time soon.