The Eagles experienced perhaps its strongest linebacker play in over a decade in 2013. With Trent Cole catching fire late in the season, Connor Barwin being all sorts of solid, Mychal Kendricks developing into a play-maker and DeMeco Ryans having a career year, the linebacker unit was a strength for the team. However, with little depth and questions surrounding Ryans' contract status with the team, it is understandable that the team could look elsewhere in the offseason. More likely, if a move is made, it will probably happen in May during the draft.
Alabama's C.J. Mosley is a two-time BCS National Championship winner and one of the top inside linebackers in the nation. Mosley has been a winner his entire football career and was the 56th overall recruit by Rivals.com in his senior year of high school. A lauded Alabama native, Mosley chose to stay local for college.
Mosley played heavy snaps from the start with Alabama. As a freshman, he played in all 13 games that season and was third on the team with 67 tackles. He also had 10 pass breakups and two interceptions, while being awarded first-team Freshman All-America honors from several publications. Despite a dislocated elbow costing him two games of his sophomore season, Mosley finished with 37 tackles (4.5 for loss), two sacks, two passes defensed and an interception in just 11 games (six starts).
A full-time starter for the first time in his college career, Mosley received first-team All-American and All-SEC honors as a junior. He led Alabama with 107 tackles (seven for loss) to go along with four sacks, two interceptions and two pass breakups on the way to his second straight BCS National Championship.
As a senior, Mosley won Alabama's Defensive Player of the Week award 11 out of the 12 games in 2013. Considered the leader of the defense, Mosley collected 106 tackles and three passes defensed on the year. He was named a consensus All-American and All-SEC first team selection during his final year.
He was invited to the Senior Bowl but declined playing in the game.
At just 21, Mosley has the experience of being a leader for a top-tier program and has a tradition of winning under his belt. An inside linebacker with plenty of range, Mosley is a very good inside blitzer and can get off of blocks. At 6-foot-2 and 232 pounds, Mosley is taller but thinner than current Eagles starter and fellow former Alabama standout, Ryans. He is also tremendously quick and is very comfortable in coverage. He had five interceptions and six sacks at Alabama, which shows he can make a plays.
As you can tell from his tackle totals over his college career, he is a sound tackler and has a nose for the ball. A vocal leader, he is an active instructor on the field, which is likely his biggest comparison to Ryans. A well-rounded inside linebacker prospect, Mosley has Luke Kuechly-like intangibles.
He is a fun player to watch on tape as he is always around the ball and is active when a play happens away from him. Mosley has solid closing speed and pretty good change of direction skills for a linebacker. He is athletic and that translates on tape.
While he is listed as 6-foot-2, he looks much shorter on tape, which hurts him in coverage. He also probably needs to add weight to play inside linebacker at the next level. While he got off of blocks in college, the added weight and strength would allow for him to do the same in the NFL. There are also times where he chooses to launch himself, instead of wrapping up and whiffs on tackles. However, that is coachable.
The Eagles are in an odd situation at inside linebacker. Kendricks is still not a finished product and has obvious flaws, but is talented. Ryans is still solid but is due a ton of money and is set to turn 30 this offseason. While Chip Kelly loves Ryans, there is a possibility that he will not return next season (although not likely). The Eagles spoke to a few inside linebackers at the Senior Bowl, which is a sign that they are at least interested in adding depth to the position.
Najee Goode did well as a backup and spot starter last season, but he is probably better off staying in that role. Adding Mosley, whether or not he starts immediately, would add extra talent to the unit. He could come in on third downs for Ryans in coverage and potentially rotate with Kendricks and the outside linebacker positions as well. Mosley's natural position in the NFL is inside linebacker, but he does have the ability to rush.
While it is highly-unlikely the Eagles will splurge with a first round pick on Mosley, it will be interesting to see what happens if he is there at pick No. 22.
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