Ravens impressed with Mosley's football IQ

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Inside linebacker C.J. Mosley is set to become the first defensive rookie to start a season opener for the Baltimore Ravens since defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in 2006.

Why is Mosley on such the fast track? It has as much to do with his brains as his brawn.

"Our scouts do a good job of trying to [figure] out his football IQ, and what is that exactly? [It is] guys who really understand the game and pick things up quickly, and C.J. is one of those guys," coach John Harbaugh said. "You don’t have to tell him [something] more than once, and he makes corrections really quickly. The next step for C.J. is like all of them – it’s going to be to get on the field and play an NFL game against another NFL team [to] get that experience.”

It was a surprise to some when the Ravens used the No. 17 overall pick on Mosley. There were more pressing needs like offensive tackle, safety and cornerback.

But Mosley looks like a difference maker so far in training camp because he's in the right spot to make plays. Unlike Arthur Brown (a second-round pick from the year before), Mosley came from a sophisticated defense at Alabama which made his transition easier.

The Ravens announced that they expected him to start immediately when they drafted him, and Mosley hasn't disappointed. He was running with the first-team defense by the final offseason minicamp, and he'll line up with the starters when the Ravens open the preseason against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.

"C.J. [Mosley] is one of those rare, young players that has a great deal of exposure to a lot of good defense," linebackers coach Ted Monachino said. "So the transition for him mentally hasn’t been very difficult at all. The transition, physically, is one that he’s got to catch up. He’s got a little bit of a curve there, but has made a huge jump just in the first 10 days of practice. So, we’re thrilled where he is right now.”