Should the New York Giants take C.J. Mosley with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft? That depends on whom you ask. Some will tell you that linebacker is the Giants' worst position and that they would be foolish not to choose Mosely and improve a great weakness.
Others will say that linebackers like Mosley may perform well in college, but that hardly guarantees a successful NFL career. Just look at players like Aaron Curry out of Wake Forest and Rolando McClain out of Alabama. Both players were picked early in the first round of recent NFL drafts, and both players failed to even have a marginal impact on the teams that chose them.
Still, there are more recent examples that show that the Giants would do well to take Mosley in the first round this May. Two years ago, the Carolina Panthers took Luke Kuechly, a linebacker out of Boston College, with the No. 9 overall pick of the draft. Since then, Kuechly has won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award and appeared in the Pro Bowl while leading one of the top defensive units in the league.
Another linebacker taken in the 2012 draft, Dont'a Hightower, has proven to be a solid NFL player after being picked No. 25 overall by the New England Patriots. Hightower, like Mosley, played his college ball at Alabama.
With scouts praising Mosley's coverage skills as well as his ability to blitz the passer, he could be the every-down linebacker that the Giants are looking for to anchor the defense for years to come. However, New York isn't the only team that covets Mosley's talents. Some analysts have the 21-year-old getting picked before the Giants' pick even comes up.
ESPN's Todd McShay thinks that the Vikings will choose Mosley with the No. 8 pick in the draft. Such an outcome would force the Giants to wait until later in the draft if they want to come away with a middle linebacker. Or they could opt for UCLA's Anthony Barr or Buffalo's Khalil Mack if they want a pass rushing defensive end/linebacker hybrid who could complement Mathias Kiwanuka's role.
While both Barr and Mack are considered slightly better prospects than Mosley, you can argue that it is Mosley who is a better fit for the Giants. Pass rushers are always in demand in today's NFL, but it's rare to find a player like Mosley who can do so many things to help a pro team and is also ready to play right away. With the Giants having neglected the linebacker position for so long, Mosley is more than worth taking not just for next season, but for the future of the franchise as well.