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Ray Lewis: C.J. Mosley is NFL's best middle linebacker

This is Ray Lewis' weekend.

The former All-Pro linebacker is part of an eight-person class entering the Hall of Fame as its latest group of enshrinees on Saturday in Canton, Ohio. It's understandable if he's feeling himself right about now.

It seems, though, that the goodwill has spread outward from Lewis to his former team, which is in Canton as a participant in Thursday's Hall of Fame Game. Lewis, arguably the best middle linebacker of his generation, extended the same compliment to Baltimore's current man in the middle.

"I would love for you to show me a better middle linebacker in the game than C.J. Mosley," Lewis said, via ESPN. "That's from a pure football instinct level of being a general and always ending up in the right place. Can he get better? Absolutely. Overall, that is what a linebacker looks like, plays like and thinks like. C.J. Mosley, that's a football player."

Lewis' generation was an excellent one in terms of middle 'backers, with fellow HOF classmate Brian Urlacher equally as much of a mainstay at the position as Lewis and a handful of others near their level of performance. Lewis played the game with a passion and desire to make his opponents feel him every time they met between the lines, so much that the Madden NFL video game introduced a "hit stick" with Lewis serving as the face of the feature. He sees the same in Mosley.

"Every time I watch him, I'm like, 'Wow,'" Lewis said. "I get super excited when I see him playing football because he's playing it from a linebacker perspective. He isn't just trying to tackle you. He's trying to make you feel him. I think a lot of linebackers now are OK with making tackles. No, the game is about punishment. You want to run the ball against me? That's a problem."

Mosley is certainly on the edge of the conversation, if not in it. We're in somewhat of a transitional period at the position, with the household names having left and the next crop of young stars rising to prominence. The first names that come to mind at the position are Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner. After those two, Mosley probably fits.

Statistics will show Mosley belongs in that group, falling just one tackle shy of tying Wagner for seventh most in the league (133) and a half-sack short of Wagner's 1.5 (though sacks aren't as indicative of a middle linebacker's success). Mosley is doing more than his job for a Ravens defense that was stellar early last season and is talented enough to be one of the league's best in 2018, with Mosley at the forefront. If player opinion is desired, he landed at No. 98 in the most recent edition of the Top 100.

Lewis knows linebacker talent when he sees it. His purple-and-black blood is just showing a little bit this week.

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