Tracking C.J. Mosley's top competition for top defensive rookie


With six weeks left in the regular season, Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley continues to be the favorite for NFL defensive rookie of the year. He is the only NFL defender with at least 85 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.

The 17th overall pick in the draft, Mosley ranks first among rookies and No. 8 in the league with 87 tackles. He is tied for second among all linebackers with seven passes defensed.

Here is a look at Mosley's chief competition:

DT Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams: Even though he didn't start until the fifth game of the season, Donald has been most productive member of a disappointing defensive front. He leads all rookie defensive linemen in tackles (27) and sacks (four). The 13th overall pick, Donald is the third-highest graded defensive lineman by Pro Football Focus. He is behind Detroit's Ndamukong Suh and Buffalo's Kyle Williams.

OLB Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders: Known for his pass rush ability in college, Mack has been a playmaker against the run as well as the pass. The fifth overall pick, Mack has the fifth-most tackles among rookie linebackers with 56. He only has one sack this season, but he is fourth among all linebackers with 26 quarterback hurries. Mack is the second-highest graded outside linebacker by Pro Football Focus.

OLB Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings: Barr gained attention when he won a game at Tampa Bay, forcing a fumble and returning it 27 yards for a touchdown in overtime. He became just the sixth rookie named NFC defensive player of the week in the past 10 seasons. The ninth overall pick in the draft, Barr has been disruptive with four sacks. But he's missed 19 tackles this season, the most of any linebacker in the NFL.