C.J. Mosley could have been going through this a year ago.
The Alabama linebacker bypassed the workouts, meeting and interviews that come along with the pre-draft process to play one more season with the Crimson Tide. He decided against being a likely first-round pick and collecting paychecks for his work on Sundays to get another fall of Saturdays in Tuscaloosa.
Not much has changed for Mosley in a year, either. The bright NFL future that he faced after his junior season is still in front of him after completing his senior season at Alabama. Mosley is still battling the same questions about his positional value and the injuries he piled up during his college career. On the field, though, Mosley's game is as well-rounded as any player in this class.
One of Mosley's most impressive traits is his fluidity in coverage. He mirrors receivers effectively and has the hips and foot speed to keep up with tight ends down the field. What separates Mosley from other linebackers is his ability to recognize what the offense is doing in the passing game and anticipate throws. He also turns his head around on the football well.
Every time Alabama played over the last few seasons, it was obvious that Mosley was one of, if not the most prepared player on the field. He always seems to be a step ahead of the offense and puts himself in position to make plays. This is true both in the running game and passing game. He anticipates what's going to unfold and has the quickness to get to where he needs to be on the football field. Occasionally, Mosley got caught out of position on read option plays, but it was tough to find too many instances of Mosley being out of position during his senior season.
Mosley isn't going to be best used on the edge rushing the passer, but he has skills that could make him effective in occasional blitz packages. He has enough length and quickness to generate pressure, but it's his lack of bend on the edge and counter moves that make him more of an inside linebacker.
Critics have called Mosley's speed into question at times during the pre-draft process. but he was plenty fast enough to track down ball carriers throughout his career at Alabama. Mosley will always play quicker than he times, too, because of his preparation and instincts that put him in position to make plays. That being said, Mosley has the athleticism to keep up with tight ends down field and play sideline-to-sideline in the running game.
As a run defender, Mosley is mature beyond his years. Obviously his recognition skills come in handy, but Mosley also plays with tremendous leverage, showing an excellent base on contact. He also knows how to use his length to keep blockers out of his pads by stacking and shedding through contract and making his way through traffic with ease. Mosley is explosive off the snap and relentless in pursuit.
Mosley isn't always the most fundamentally sound tackler, which may show a lack of strength. Sometimes he seems to be compensating by getting a bit sloppy in his tackling. This is a nitpick of his game, but like his teammate, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Mosley drops his head when tackling occasionally. It causes him some issues. On the whole, Mosley was a reliable tackler at Alabama.
Where Mosley falls in the draft will likely depend on positional value. Teams don't value middle linebackers too highly. Still, he grades out as one of the 10 best players in this class. Few players are better at their position than Mosley is at inside linebacker. Furthermore, no inside linebacker in this class is even close to Mosley. He should make an impact as a rookie in the NFL.