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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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Anthony Barr Bruce Carter C.J. Mosley Dallas Cowboys Sean Lee

  • Duie

    All this talk about Lee playing olb but can Lee be as dominate on the outside as he is when he’s playing the miidle linebacker, I think that’s the real question

    • MCA

      Yes he can. He has the speed and athleticism. Moving him from MLB will hopefully keep him off the disable list. That’s if he makes the move.

      • duie

        I understand that he has the ability and athleticism but having our best defensive player playing smack in the middle of the field makes sense to me, he can get to every play as it happens.. Playing OLB I think at same time it’s a precaution to keep him on the field. it also kind of minimizing his skills other teams are obviously gonna be running away from him the whole game which means he’s gonna be chasing everything from now on also in pass coverage he’s pretty much limited to a third of the field as when he was in the middle he could react to everything

        • David

          Lee is pure football player with an extremely high football IQ. I think he would be able to play one of the outside spots and it could reduce the wear and tear he is taking in the middle right now. The only problem is Mosely has some injury concerns too..

    • PaulTX

      I think Lee is fine. The real question is are we going to get a better training staff. That hamstring business really pissed me off.

  • Duie

    I understand that he has the ability and athleticism but having our best defensive player playing smack in the middle of the field makes sense to me, he can get to every play as it happens.. Playing OLB I think at same time it’s a precaution to keep him on the field. it also kind of minimizing his skills other teams are obviously gonna be running away from him the whole game which means he’s gonna be chasing everything from now on also in pass coverage he’s pretty much limited to a third of the field as when he was in the middle he could react to everything

  • David

    I dont really think this is a delemma. I really like both players but I believe Barr has the much higher ceiling and versatility to play either the Sam or put on 20 pounds and still keep his speed and play DE. The same can not be said for Mosely. Mosely also has some injury concerns which might bother the Cowboys. In this scenario I think Barr is the no brainer and Dallas should sprint to the podium to take him.

    • PaulTX

      I do not see Barr playing Sam. I’m not saying that he can’t, but he’d be better suited at DE. I doubt Barr will be around at #16 anyway. Maybe Pryor or Dix, but not both, and possibly Mosley. I’d be ok with drafting Donald if we move Melton to DT1, but we probably are going to end up with Mike Evans.

      • David

        Paul I sincerely doubt they would ever move Melton or Donald to the 1 tech unless it was an obvious pass situation. And Melton was one of the best 3 tech’s his pro bow year before last so why would they move him from there??

        • PaulTX

          I’m just trying to make sense of drafting Donald. Personally, I cannot rationalize drafting a player in the first round that would not play every down, but everyone is still projecting Dallas to grab Donald or Jernigan.

          • David

            Well like I said if they had no huge holes at FS and LB, I would be more open to it. Or if he was the second coming of Suh I would be open to it. But he is not having that kind of hype right now. If he was he would be a top 5 pick.

          • PaulTX

            I’m with you. My pick order at #16 is Barr, Dix, Pryor, Mosley, Lewan, Martin, Donald, Jernigan, Evans, Dennard, Beckham. I have all those players ranked between #10 and #20. I do not expect them all to be there at #16, but maybe a couple. If the first four are gone, I would consider trading back, then going after Ealy or Tuitt around #20, and Su’a-Filo or Kouandjio at around #30.

          • David

            That is a pretty good order and if they got one of those top 4 guys and then landed a Crichton, Reilly, Murphy or a falling KOny or Ford I would be very happy..

          • PaulTX

            My ideal pick at #47 in the 2nd round are: Crichton
            (DE), Martin (DE), Murphy (DE), Richardson (OT), Van Noy (LB), Jackson (G),
            Yankey (G), Hageman (DT), not particularly in that order. Of course, if one of my 1st round
            prospects is on the board, I would take him, or if a 1st round
            talent at a non-need position like Louis Nix (NT), Derek Carr (QB) or Eric
            Ebron (TE) is still on the board, I would take them. There’s a few more I would consider around #60 in the 2nd round.

            My hope is that we trade for a late 1st round and a 2nd round. Or maybe trade for an early to mid 2nd round and a pick in next year’s 1st round. I view the whole “fix” of this defense as a two year process.

  • Old Frog

    Any discussion of a choice for the first pick has to include Zack Martin, otherwise it’s incomplete. I really believe the conversation on draft day will be “Do we take Martin for the O line, or any one of six different defensive players?” It’s either Martin or Defense.

    • BaMBaM

      They definitely don’t need to draft a slow O-lineman from ND in the 1st. If one of the 3 top LT fall then yes.But not Martin.

  • BaMBaM

    I think all this talk about moving Lee to out side is asinine. Lee was in the running for defensive MVP until he got hurt.The Cowboys do not need to draft a MLB or a 3-4 OLB in the first. They need to draft a DT.

    • David

      So they draft a DT with the 16th pick do be a rotational player in an 8 to 9 man rotation like Marinelli wants. No thanks. With their 16th pick they need a guy who will be on the field every down. And they have already signed two DL and have two more coming back from injury.

      • BaMBaM

        The only real starter on the team is Melton and no body knows how his knee is going to hold up. Every body else are back ups. So yes the cowboys need to draft D-line in the 1st round. Matter of fact the need to draft D-line in the 1st 3 rounds.

        • David

          No offense bro but I dont think you are grasping the Defensive philosophy and what Marinelli wants to do with the D-line. I think you also need to understand there is very good D-line depth in the draft this year and the Cowboys have huge needs at FS, LB and DE.

          • BaMBaM

            OLB yes MLB no the Cowboys are not going to draft a safety in the 1st. Barr is not a 4-3 OLB and he is not 4-3 DE. Out the 2 best DT in the draft one of them will be there. And if Donald is there he is going to be the pick.

          • David

            Well first off why would they not take a FS in Dix or Pryor. Right now FS is probably in the top two needs of the team. And after those two there is quite a drop off. As for Barr you clearly have not read much on him or watched him. He can play the Sam in a 4-3 or add 20 pounds and make the transition to DE with his speed and pash rushing ability..

          • BaMBaM

            The Cowboys can draft a starter at OLB in the 4th by taking Telvin Smith. The biggest need is D-line. The Cowboys have had a chance to take a safety in the1st the last 2 drafts and did not do iit and they will not do it this draft. I don’t understand why fans think the signing of Melton and some other bums has fixed the D-line. If you want a great D you build from inside out not the other way.

          • David

            And Ill never understand why fans think that just having a great D-line fixes every other position. Its an ignorant way of thinking. How did it work out for Dallas when Ware was in his prime and Spencer was very good across from him. Oh yeah their safeties still sucked. Cracks me up how people think the Cowboys should use a 1st round pick on a DT who will be a rotational player when they are desparate at LB and FS as well…And are you fn serious you want to place all your money on Telvin Smith in the 4th round? There is a good chance he will be gone by the end of the 2nd round..And yeah they could have drafted a safety in the 1st round but since the only one they were seriously looking at in Vaccaro was already taken they traded back and addressed their other biggest need on the team at that time which was the O-line particularly the center position.

  • PaulTX

    I like Barr over Mosley, and he would play DE and not Will or Sam. Lee can play Will, Mike, or Sam, but in a Tampa 2, the positions are not that different, so why move him? Barr should be gone at #16, so that should make the decision easier. The big question when Dallas gets on the clock will be “do we trade back?”