C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama) vs Tennessee

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing Alec Ogletree and Arthur Brown so far, now it’s time to take a look at C.J. Mosley. He’s another playmaking linebacker who fits Seattle’s scheme. You’re talking about three solid options for the first two rounds of the draft. Throw in Khaseem Greene at Rutgers, and there’s plenty of depth if the Seahawks wants to upgrade at the WILL during the off-season.

Mosley isn’t a brilliant athlete like Ogletree or Brown, but he’s not far behind. He’s shown a knack for making plays (four sacks, two interceptions and a touchdown in 2012). He’s best sitting in the second level, reading the quarterbacks eyes and using instinct to make plays. That’s how the Seahawks want to use their linebackers. It’s worth noting he’s still a junior and like a lot of Alabama’s best defensive players, he might return for a senior year. Even so, he’s had injury issues in the past (missing a lot of time in 2011) and there’s nothing left to win in college. It’ll be interesting to see what he ultimately chooses to do. Bama could lose two key players if Mosley and complete cornerback Dee Milliner both turn pro.

Have a look at the tape above vs Tennessee and let us know what you think.


  1. Colin

    He seems bigger than an Arthur Brown, but doesn’t possess the speed Ogletree does. I’d gladly take this guy in round 1. I like his lateral movement for a guy his size, and his ability to shed blocks really impressed me.

  2. Nate Dogg

    How do you rate the different LB prospects run defense? There was a stat going into the BIlls game that Seattle allows something like 6 YPC on runs at the left tackle. Lots of people pointed to Clemons, but that’s also Hill’s side. We know that Seattle values run defense more than most, and Wright and Wagner are already suitable for nickel packages. If Seattle does go LB early, what impact will run defense have on their choice?

    • Attyla the Hawk

      Not speaking for Rob, here’s kind of how I put them:

      1. Brown
      2. Te’o
      3. Mosley
      50. Ogletree

      Ogletree is a LB that doesn’t aggressively take on blockers head on. In fact, he looks like a little brother being held at arms’ length from a ball in many instances. He is almost solely a pursuit backer. He is easily engulfed when teams run right at him. And that’s with two massive DTs playing in front of him. When an OL engages with him, he’s going for a good 8-10 yard ride.

      Brown is one of the best I’ve seen in a very long time at the point of attack. He aggressively and violently engages blockers with extreme force and is still able to keep an arm free or to disengage to make a play in the hole. He plays with excellent leverage and hip drive and you can see it repeatedly when he engages an OG, if they aren’t ready for it, he can make it look like they ran into a wall.

      Mosley can play physically, but I don’t see him having the ability to destroy the blocker and still make a play like Brown does. He does display good instincts, and aggressiveness. But he lacks Brown’s ability to attack and make unassisted plays at the point of attack.

      From what I’ve seen/read — the Will in a Pete Carroll scheme isn’t a position that puts a big premium on a players’ ability to take on blockers head on and fill a hole. In terms of scheme, Browns excellence in this area is probably reduced somewhat, although it would still apply at times. Brown, if he’s good as a pursuit backer in space — would be a good well rounded option.

      Ogletree has skills and ability that really almost uniquely apply to how Seattle hopes it’s Will backer should function. He’s not going to get seal blocked except if he makes a terrible mistake/misread. As a former safety, he also has demonstrated the ability to learn well. He’s also taller and rangier and an excellent athlete. I expect that his combine measurables would be pretty outstanding. One advantage Ogletree will have over Brown is that he’ll be a much better coverage LB, and his ability to pass rush via the blitz should be outstanding. When you see him in pursuit or blitzing a passer or attacking space (or a hole with no lead blocker) one is instantly reminded of ‘Earl Thomas speed’. He just makes people look like they are stuck in second gear.

    • Rob Staton

      Here’s the issue with that run defense stat – Clemons WILL get run on. It’s unavoidable. And the same will happen to Irvin if/when he takes over from Clemons one day. A 250lbs lineman is going to get run on in a front four. So I think whoever you put at linebacker on that side, you’re going to struggle. I’m not sure there’s a way around it really. They want all their linebackers it seems playing clean from the second level and swarming to the ball. I think Arthur Brown is the best sifting through traffic and perhaps most suited to helping the run defense to answer this question. Ogletree is a stunning athlete who will grow into this area for me. Khaseem Greene at Rutgers is also up there in this category as more of a strong, run defending LB.

  3. Vin

    As always, thanks Rob for the excellent insight. Of the 3, I like Ogletree the best….his skill set just screams Hawks to me. Agree that Mosley moves well and seems to have a nose for the ball. He’s listed as 6-2 232, but he looks more like 240/245 to me. Rob, Im curious, how do you rate Mosley compared to Hightower & Upshaw. And have you, (or anyone else for that matter) kept up to see how Hightower & Upshaw have done in the pros?

    • Rob Staton

      I haven’t watched much Baltimore football this year so I can’t comment too much on Upshaw. From that I saw of Hightower he started very strongly but has faded a bit. I think Mosley is below both players in terms of pro-potential but then I was higher on Upshaw than some others.

  4. D

    I don’t like how he gets reached by lineman, I didn’t see the shedding of blocks like mentioned above. He more looks like he gets blocked and either beat or lets the play come to him.

  5. Stuart

    Rob, how likely is it we go LB in R-1? Hill has slowed down and may be in his last season but Malcom Smith has looked great at that spot. Plus we also have Korey Toomer on the PS. Because of those facts, TE or DT seems like a greater need in R-1.

    Are there any DE types that may slide to us that may be to good to pass up?

    • Brian

      I think if we’ve learned anything over the past two years of Pete Carroll drafts it is to expect the unexpected.

      I kind of disagree about TE. We signed Zach Miller to a big contract . . . and then throw him only 3 passes per game. That has to change for it to be worth drafting a TE in the first round, IMO.

      • AlaskaHawk

        I would agree on the TE position, it looks like McCoy is improving and we don’t use Miller that often.
        As far as linebacker goes, I do wonder if Malcom Smith has filled that need. Maybe we are just talking about adding competition for a spot.
        The nose tackle spot, the issue I grapple with is that 4-6 teams ahead of us also want nose tackles. It would be nice to move up to at least mid draft for a guy. Maybe it is smarter to go linebacker in the first and try to pick up a mid-round nosetackle. But you are really gambling on quality.

        Some thoughts on draft rounds:
        First round Nosetackle as per Rob.
        Second round Wide Receiver (Need at least two WR to backup Rice and Tate)
        Third round linebacker or wide receiver
        Fourth Offensive Linemen (need Depth)
        Fifth a cornerback or safety (they are like skittles – you can never have enough)
        Sixth Wide receiver or tight end!!!!
        Seventh Defense!!!!!!!

        • Colin

          We do not need a nose. We need a 3 technique. They are not the same. Brandon Mebane has done an excellent job this year.

    • Rob Staton

      I just can’t see a DE being the first round pick in back to back years, especially given that they have the LEO and the ‘future LEO’ already signed up for the long haul. Is linebacker an option? Yes but only because the team is now in a position to really get at BPA. And if they determine a linebacker like Arthur Brown is BPA (could happen) then that’s what they’ll probably do. Although I accept the greatest needs are definitely three-technique defensive tackle and WR/TE.

  6. Norm M

    I would be curious to hear thoughts on the possibility of Seattle trading Flynn for additional picks. With New York benching Sanchez, and at least five other teams looking for a starting caliber QB, someone may be willing to give up a high pick for a “proven” NFL quarterback. I’m well aware of the importance of a solid back up but the temptation to pick up a top tier wide receiver as well as a d lineman may be too much to pass up. I’m not sold on the idea, but a second round pick might be enough to trade up for an upper echelon WR, which is what I think we need to find in the first round. It seems to me that Carroll and co can find talent that fits their particular defense in the mid rounds.

    • Rob Staton

      I think there’s almost no chance of collecting a high pick for Matt Flynn. Let’s remember here, he had almost no market as a pure free agent last year. He’s a year closer to 30 and he’s now a proven career backup. A team like New York will have to pay Mark Sanchez $8m guaranteed next year. They aren’t also going to absorb Matt Flynn’s contract as well – all for the task of selling Flynn as the answer to an unsettled fan base. I mean let’s consider this for a moment – can you see Jets fans accepting Flynn as the antidote to the Sanchez/Tebow farce? I can’t.

      And while this isn’t a superb QB draft, there are still some nice options. Teams will always look to draft their own guys first and foremost.

      I’d rate the chances of getting a R2 pick for Matt Flynn as 1% likely. The best they can hope for IMO is a modest R4-5 selection.

      • Colin

        With this front office, I will be ESTATIC with another 4th round pick.

      • Norm M

        I can see the Sanchez issue, bad example on my part but with a weak QB class and so many teams without a starting caliber quarterback I would think that there may be an opportunity to find a trade with the right team. As I stated, I’m not sold on the idea. As with any player in the league, we are just one awkward hit away from needing a quality back up ourselves. Thanks for the reply Rob, looking forward to your continued draft info. It’s a great time to be a Seahawk fan, lots to look forward to.

        • Rob Staton

          Thanks for the kind words – appreciate it.

          Here are the teams I can’t see having any interest in Matt Flynn:

          Kansas City
          – Unlikely to cough up the #2 pick in round two or the #1 pick in round three
          – Quite possibly will take one of the QB’s first overall

          – Already have their own version of Matt Flynn in Ryan Fitzpatrick

          – Division rival
          – Will almost certainly draft a QB early

          New York Jets
          – Have $8m guaranteed owed to Sanchez in 2013 and will have a hard time selling Flynn as the alternative to a restless fan base

          Here are the teams I think could show some interest:

          – GM worked in Green Bay and might consider a trade if he doesn’t have any belief in Carson Palmer, although Palmer really isn’t the Raiders problem

          – They’d have to shift position on Christian Ponder, but they might feel a modest upgrade is enough with Adrian Peterson playing the way he is

          – Owner is a bit out there and might insist on trading for Tim Tebow instead

          In all three instances (OAK, MIN & JAC) they’d be better served enquiring about Alex Smith. And in all three cases, I can’t see any offering an early pick. Oakland I could see giving up something like a 5th to have an alternative. It’d move Flynn out of the NFC too. But I think we can forget about any early pick trades for Flynn. And however weak this QB class is compared to last year, there’s still some solid options – Barkley, Wilson and Smith to name but three prospects.

          • OakHarborHawk

            I could see Minnesota taking a shot at Flynn and bringing him in to compete with Ponder due to the fact he was the back up at Green Bay for so long.

            Also would like to hear your thoughts on DT Brandon Williams from Missouri Southern. Just read about him on another site and that he would likely be a mid round pick, but could go higher after the Senior Bowl and combine.

            Bye the way love your blog this and Field Gulls are the two Hawks site i read the most. Go hawks.

            • Rob Staton

              I could see Minnesota doing it… but only for a very modest outlay. EG – R4-5 pick. I’ve no access to Missouri Southern tape unfortunately so can’t offer much of an opinion here. Apologies.

          • Rock

            I would not rule out Tennessee. Locker is the #28 rated QB. 9 TD’s and 9 INT’s is nothing to be too happy with. Jake still cannot stay healthy. I think Hasselbeck has one more year on his contract. I do not know if it is an option year or not. Basically, they have run out of runway on the Titans team and need someone to challenge Locker who will be around a while. Flynn might be a good option for them.

            • GH

              Tennessee possibly. Oakland GM is on the record saying they won’t be trading any more picks- no more of the Al Davis stuff… I think Rob said it well – the lack of a market for Flynn when he was freely available says a lot about what kind of trade market there will be for him now. Vick will probably be on the market as well. Just hard to see anyone showing anything but a passing interest in him.

          • A. Simmons

            I disagree with your opinion concering the Jets. The Jets are a competent QB away from playoff contention. FLynn is a very copmetent QB that has proven he can use his receivers, TEs, and RBs to keep the chains moving. His contract is moderate. The Jets do not have the luxury of drafting and developing a QB with their talent window. They need competent QB play now. Flynn’s contract is very reasonable.

            I’m fairly certain John Schneider will not use market value to determine a worthy trade for Flynn. He’ll use player value. Flynn at the minimum is a top level backup QB. That is his floor. What is a near starter quality backup QB worrh? A 3rd and 4th at a minimum, more likely a 2nd. If they don’t get that form, then he is more valuable backing up Russell here. So we don’t trade him given our moderate investment in the QB position.

            There is this assumption the market value for Flynn was non-existent. I don’t think that was the case. I think no one wanted to pay Kolb type money for Flynn. I think many teams assumed that is what they would pay. Kevin Kolb and Matt Cassell killed the market for QBs like Flynn, just as Matt Schaub enhanced the market. I think quite a few teams would have signed Flynn if they knew they would be paying what Seattle paid. We have already worked out a reasonable contract for anyone taking a flier on Flynn. All they need to do is cough up the draft capital. I think our contract situation with Flynn will enahnce his value. It is a perfect contract for either a bridge QB or a test run for a starter. Two years and about 8 million a year. IF he works out, you’re competitive for years. If it doesn’t, you’re not saddled with a multi-year deal. I trust Schneider to play the situation well ensuring Seattle gets positional value with a minimum being a 3rd and 4th or a 2nd.

            • Rob Staton

              Is Flynn a competent quarterback? I hesitate to go along with that based on two starts in Green Bay. This is a guy approaching 30 who has always been a career backup. And if the league saw him as a competent quarterback, he’d have received more attention than a passing interest from his ex coach in Miami and a contract offer from ex-Green Bay John Schneider. I think he’s a competent backup personally.

              As for New York specifically… they’ve got three mediocre QB’s on their roster and that’s a restless fan base. Spending a pick on Matt Flynn will go down like a ton of bricks. And in this era of NFL football, don’t see why they can’t draft a QB. Barkley, Wilson, Smith… they all fit the bill. Nassib, Murray or Glennon in the R2-3 range too. And if they really are after a stopgap type or a game manager…. Alex Smith would be better for me. Call San Fran and get more bang for your buck.

              If someone is willing to pay a 4th rounder, I think you take it. He’s not irreplaceable and actually doesn’t fit the offense we’re running. If you had to install Flynn mid game for Wilson, you can throw out the gameplan for that day. He can’t run read option. He’s a completely different QB. A guy like Josh Johnson would actually be a better fit as a backup because he can come in and nothing changes.

              And it’s no assumption his market was ice cold. Nobody arranged even a visit with the guy. He didn’t sign Kolb money in Seattle. As soon as a few days of FA had passed with no visits, he wasn’t going to get Kolb money. The only assumption here is that teams would’ve been interested if they knew the deal he eventually signed. Well in that case – arrange a meeting with the guy and test the market. Nobody picked up the phone except Seattle and then Miami. His market was dead and the Seahawks took advantage of that to add to their QB competition.

              I think we need to get away from the idea that there’s any chance at all this team gets a R2-3 for Flynn. It’s not happening.

          • Steven in Spain

            And there will be other teams with completely new FOs this off-season, like San Diego and Philadelphia. Rivers has been regressing very badly, and a new FO may want to go in another direction. Who knows whether Foles has a future in a post-Andy Reid environment? That Eagles roster isn’t so bad that it can’t contend in a weak NFC East with some health – maybe a new GM will see Foles as needing more seasoning. Baltimore may also be revisiting their commitment to Flacco – he’s another “established” QB who has been plateauing, if not regressing. Who knows? It’s too early to narrow the field of contenders for Flynn’s services. Once again a lot of teams will be interested in upgrading the most important position on the field, and many of them will be teams who *weren’t* shopping for QBs when Flynn was on the market last year.

            I do agree that Flynn’s trade value is equivalent to a mid-rounder, though. Or let’s say San Diego swaps 2013 second-rounders with us and throws in a 2014 late-rounder, something like that sounds like Schneider’s style.

            • Rob Staton

              Whoever takes over in San Diego… you’re surely not trading for Flynn to replace Philip Rivers. They need to give Rivers some WR’s, a non-injured RB and an offensive line. As for Philly – not sure why you’d do that deal when you have a younger, more talented QB on the roster in Foles. I just can’t see it.

    • Phil

      Say we trade Flynn for a 4th or 5th rounder. Who are we going to have as RW’s backup? Portis is gone. So, in this scenario, wouldn’t we have to turn around and use the pick we get, or another pick, to draft a replacement for Flynn?

      PC has had a season to look at Flynn and if RW was to go down, I think that PC could design a game plan to complement Flynn’s strengths and to minimize his weaknesses. I don’t want to see us lose Flynn’s familiarity with the offense just to bring in someone new as his replacement. Sure, if we could get a 1st or 2nd round pick, I’d say go for it. But, that’s not going to happen.

      • Rob Staton

        I don’t think this is something we have to panic about. You can find a serviceable backup. Josh Johnson had a try-out with Seattle a week ago and he has a similar skill set to Russell Wilson. After all, what has Green Bay done to combat the loss of Flynn? Can anyone even remember who the backup is for the Packers?

        At the moment, they’re running all the read option and bootleg/PA stuff. The minute Wilson leaves the field mid-game, they have to abandon that and revert to a timing offense based around pocket passing because that’s the type of QB Flynn is. So you would virtually have to abandon your entire game plan, basically relying on just run and PA.

        If Wilson got injured during the week… sure you can draw a different game plan up. But again, you don’t want to make a complete 180 because your backup is the polar opposite of the starter. I’m not going to say it’s a hindrance having a guy like Flynn as backup, but it’s crucial going forward they get a long term backup with the same skill set so it’s not a sea-change if Wilson does get injured.

        • Phil

          I think that if RW was injured, they would revert to the offense we saw at the beginning of the year. That is, run the ball, control the clock, keep the score close, hope to win via turnover, etc.

          I agree it’s not something to panic about. I’m happy with our situation at QB with RW and Flynn.

        • Rock

          I think a few things have changed since last year.
          1. The Seahawks have found in RW their QBOTF. This makes Flynn expendable because of his contract.
          2. Several teams have QB’s that have played their way out of a starting job. Last year there was still hope for guys like Kolb, Skelton, Carson Palmer, etc. There is now a different set of buyers out there.
          3. Peyton Manning is no longer available.
          4. The QB crop in the draft is much weaker than last year. There is no Luck or RG3 coming out this year.

          All of this speaks well for the Hawks to get max value for Flynn. I do not know what that is, but I would expect after Alex Smith he would be the second guy on the list. He may or may not be a starter. He has yet to play himself off anybody’s roster. Even as a backup QB there should be a market for him. He is better than Tavaris Jackson or the Hawks would not have signed him.

          • Attyla the Hawk

            I can understand the idea of moving Flynn. Personally I’m against it. But I’ll try to chime in on these changes thus far

            1. Contract size is immaterial. Wilson cannot be extended until after his third contract year. Flynn’s contract will have expired by then. Overall, our outlay for QBs is still extremely cheap and will be for years. Could we get savings by trading Flynn? Sure. But any team wanting him would not take on that salary, when there will be many cheaper options available or just plain better options for probably less.

            2. This is true. But when you go through the options, KC and AZ will undoubtedly pick rookies. Beyond that, figure there will be 2 or even 3 better options than Flynn available that will probably just be UFAs. And on the open market, they’ll probably merit a cheaper contract than Flynn’s monetarily without the additional draft stock cost.

            3. Flynn was never in Peyton’s class. Let’s be honest, that was a very unique situation. You virtually never see a franchise QB on the open market like that. Before him, you could point to Kurt Warner but remember he went through a horrible period where he looked all but washed up. He was a cheap flyer that couldn’t compete with the likes of Kent Graham and an old Kerry Collins. Flynn was a ‘headliner’ because there was an absence of talent. And the tepid pursuit of him confirmed that.

            4. This is true. And the fact that the Tannehill’s, Wilson’s, Foles and Cousins have turned into solid prospects may not help the case of opting for a mid level veteran backup over a new QB that isn’t a headliner. Geno Smith and Matt Barkley may not be Luck or Griffin but they would have certainly been considered better prospects than Weeden, Tannehill or WIlson. Those QBs will be taken by two teams in the first round with barely a passing thought to the UFA free agents available.

            Additionally, the UFA market is likely to be much better this season than last. Particularly if Alex Smith is released. Matt Moore is also another younger and more accomplished option than Flynn. Really, if a trade was to be opted for, then a Flynn deal would probably compete with similar offers for Kirk Cousins and Nick Foles. Foles probably not so much but so much is unknown with what is sure to be a new coaching regime in Philly. Foles or Vick may go. Either one a more attractive option than Flynn.

            This offseason, Flynn is probably not the top option, and may actually be the 5th or 6th best option. Even without Peyton Manning. I will concede, if it’s possible to trade Tarvaris, then it’s not impossible to trade Flynn. But it’ll take a team equally as dumb as Buffalo in order to do it.

            I’m just not convinced that a 6th or 7th round draft pick is worth having stability at the backup QB position. We already have 10 picks going into the draft and if history holds, we’ll probably add 2 or 3 via trade again. I think it’s pretty clear that this team’s window of opportunity for a championship opened up about 3 weeks ago. Having Flynn as insurance during the opening years of this run is extremely valuable. Just ask Chicago fans who lost half their window with Caleb Hainey last season.

          • Rob Staton

            Even if there are new teams looking for a QB this year, are we to think that it’s just pure coincidence that nobody showed interest except Seattle last off-season? After all, Miami employed his OC from Green Bay. And they had lukewarm interest at best. If his own ex-coach is judging Matt Moore as a superior player, what chance the rest of the league? I think we have to put this one down to experience. He’s not a physically brilliant QB. He’s been a career backup. He is replaceable in Seattle. So any value that can be had to move on the contract and give him a chance to compete is win-win in my eyes.

  7. Jim Q

    I think the Seahawks will draft a mid-to-late round QB that has a similar style to DangeRuss, perhaps Matt Scott from Arizona (round-4?), he showed a clutch gene recently and looks a bit like RW to me (and he’s short too). In my opinion, Flynn will remain for at least one more season unless….They trade Flynn but ONLY if they could get a decent 2-nd or 3-rd round pick or equivilent for him, which I think is not very likely at all.
    I kinda like the game of Aaron Murray also but he’ll probably go in the first couple of rounds. At the very least, the QB position, in the early rounds of the draft, no longer is a major priority, thanks to Mr Wilson, whom we haven’t even started to see the best of yet. The future sure looks bright from here on out. Go Hawks.

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