The Baltimore Ravens made C.J. Mosley their first pick of the 2014 National Football League (NFL) draft, taking the linebacker out of University of Alabama with the No. 17 overall pick during the first round on May 8 in New York City.

Many draft pundits were expecting the Ravens to draft a safety with their first pick; no safety had been taken yet in the first 16 picks so Baltimore would have had its choice of the cream of the crop.

Instead, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome pulled the trigger on Mosley, one of the most impressive defensive prospects in the draft.

At 6-foot-2-inches and 235 pounds, Mosley had pro scouts concerned if he is big enough to play middle linebacker at the pro level. But Mosley’s height and weight is similar to that of the legendary former Raven Ray Lewis, who was also thought of as “too small” coming out of college.

Mosley certainly didn’t play small at the college level. He was named the Southeast Conference (SEC) Defensive Player of the Year for the 2013 season and also won the Butkus Award, an honor that goes to the nation’s top linebacker.

This marks the second straight year the Ravens have used their first round pick on a defensive player. They drafted safety Matt Elam out of Florida last April; they also took inside linebacker Arthur Brown out of Kansas State in the second round of the 2013 draft.

Mosley joins a list of former Alabama players recruited to Baltimore by Newsome, who starred as a tight end for Alabama during the late 1970s. Newsome drafted linebacker Courtney Upshaw from Alabama in 2012, defensive tackle Terrance Cody from ‘Bama in 2010 and former outside linebacker Jarrett Johnson from the Crimson Tide in 2003.

My Take: I personally wanted the Ravens to draft with offense in mind. I would have used all eight picks in the 2014 draft to upgrade the offense had I been in the Ravens’ draft “war room.” But maybe that’s why I’m not a member of any NFL team’s front office.

Still, when you look at Baltimore’s needs, linebacker just doesn’t come to mind. They drafted a linebacker last year and they just signed veteran linebacker Darryl Smith to a deal. Smith was outstanding last year and the Ravens’ defensive finished 12th in the league rankings, so I don’t see a pressing need for a linebacker or a defensive pick, in general.

Baltimore’s offense ranked 29th in the NFL last year; they need help on the offensive line and they need more receivers for quarterback Joe Flacco. I know the motto in Balimore is “In Ozzie We Trust,” but I don’t know about this pick. I just don’t know…

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor