Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley spent the better part of three years watching Nico Johnson handle the vast majority of snaps at his position against teams like Tennessee and LSU, and any other power-rushing offenses on the Alabama schedule. He has been vocal, since the senior Johnson left the program after last season's BCS title game, that proving himself as a tough run defender was a personal priority.
With the three-year Mosley/Johnson platoon at weakside linebacker broken, Mosley finally took over the role full-time this season. And as far as he is concerned, any lingering questions have been answered.
"To me I wasn't fully developed yet, especially me not playing on every down," Mosley said, according to al.com. "I think I've proven out well this year that I can play every down. It's helped me out a lot."
With the proliferation of the spread offense, Mosley actually played more snaps than Johnson in past years, called on to cover the pass and tackle the fastest and quickest open-field threats. Not Johnson's specialty, to be sure. But against old-school foes, Johnson took on offensive linemen and clogged rushing lanes with his 250-pound frame.
NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he believes Mosley has had no problems tackling bigger rushers.
"He sees it, he gets downhill, he shoots gaps. He's a firm, firm tackler," Jeremiah said. "... Alabama's (defensive linemen are) notorious for keeping guys off their inside linebackers, and that makes a difference. He plays really well inside the tackle box as a tackler, but as a take-on guy, I haven't see a lot."
Mosley is among the nation's top prospects, ranking No. 7 on NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt's list of the top 100 seniors in college football.