Dallas Cowboys Draft Day Dilemma - Anthony Barr vs. C.J. Mosley

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Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) runs against Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley (32) during the second half at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

What Barr lacks in experience playing the linebacker spot, Mosley has in spades.  Being named a post-season All-American twice in his career, including earning that distinction as a freshman playing for one of the best programs in all of football is quite an impressive feat.  Mosley is constantly around the ball and is often making big plays, be it around the line of scrimmage (23 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks as a middle linebacker) or in coverage (five career interceptions, three being returned for touchdowns).  He also finished his time with the Crimson Tide with back-to-back 100+ tackle seasons in his junior and senior seasons.  All of this can be attributed to his high mental acumen for the game as he is rarely ever out of position or seen lunging for tackles when you put the game tape on.

Ironically, as productive as Mosley was on the field, his combine results might lead some to be concerned.  Both his three cone drill and his shuttle run drill (an indicator of the lateral burst required at the NFL level) were not impressive at all.  He did have a very good forty time at the Alabama pro day however, running an unofficial 4.6.  Mosley also seems to have a slight injury history that is always a bit of a concern when considering what Dallas has already had to deal with Sean Lee and Bruce Carter (incidentally, Mosley and Lee are the exact same size).  A dislocated elbow during his freshman season and hip in his sophomore year, among other injuries seem to have completely healed though as he stated at the combine that all of the x-rays and MRI’s came back good.  At the end of the day, the poking and prodding does not erase the fact that Mosley passes the eye test, especially when you see him live.

When it comes to the Cowboys decision between these two prospects, a lot would need to be considered.  Barr can certainly play in a 4-3 scheme but may be best suited as 3-4 OLB while Mosley comes in ready to go in a 4-3 scheme.  Drafting Mosley may not be the worst idea if the Cowboys are not convinced that incumbent middle linebacker Sean Lee can stay healthy but Barr would be an immediate upgrade over all the other options at outside backer on the roster currently.  Would Dallas be best served moving Lee to the outside and pairing him with Mosley or keeping Lee in the middle and pairing him Barr?  Mosley represents the bird in the hand, but Barr is that intriguing, tempting two in the bush.  Ultimately, either choice would be a coup for the Cowboys but if it was my call, I’d roll the dice on the possibility that Barr can actually get better and help this team attack the quarterback more consistently.

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