Despite several bigger needs at other positions, the Baltimore Ravens decided to draft Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley with their first pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Mosley fell to the Ravens after being projected go as high as the Top 10, and seeing him at No. 17 was too good a value for Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome to pass on.
Mosley started in all 13 of Alabama's games at inside linebacker and was the Tide's leading tackler for the second consecutive season, registering 108 tackles and nine tackles for loss to go with five pass breakups.
For his efforts, Mosley was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Lombardi and Nagurski awards.
Even after great senior season in which he won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker, Mosley didn't seem like a player anyone saw the Ravens taking. They drafted Arthur Brown in the second round of lat year's draft to play next to Daryl Smith, who signed a 4-year, $16 million deal this offseason to remain in Baltimore.
Those two seemed like a good pair starting inside linebackers in Baltimore's 3-4 defense, but it looks safe to say they like Mosley more than Brown.
To be fair though, Baltimore has hit it out of the park when it comes to first-round linebackers:
C.J. Mosley to the Ravens. Last 3 LB/DE drafted in 1st round by the Ravens: Terrell Suggs, Peter Boulware and Ray Lewis #BALpick— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 9, 2014
With the 17th pick, the Ravens select MLB C.J. Mosley. First MLB that the Ravens have picked in first round since Ray Lewis in 1996.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) May 9, 2014
Maybe they saw a little bit of Ray Lewis in Mosley, and couldn't resist taking him at No. 17.
Still though, free safety, right tackle and cornerback were far more pressing needs at that point. Louisville safety Calvin Pryor, Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard were players who were good value at 17 and may have made bigger impacts as rookies than Mosley will.
You can't penalize Baltimore for getting a great player this late in the first round though. I just think they could have done better.