Of the group of players to watch at 2013 Raiders Training Camp in Napa, no player has lived up to expectations and has impressed as many people while doing so as Sio Moore. Reggie McKenzie’s third round pick out of UConn, Moore is a versatile, confident, and aggressive rookie who seems hellbent on coming out and earning what he feels is his every time he steps on the football field.
Underrated while in college due to playing in the Big East, Moore put up solid numbers and an impressive enough senior season to be named to the All-American Sleeper Team as well as his second straight All-Big East appearance following up his junior season.
Despite having eight sacks and being one of the better linebackers in college football, Moore was only initially invited to the East-West Shrine Game after his senior season.
Left out of the Senior Bowl, Moore came to the Shrine Game practices with a purpose to prove that he was the best player at the game and his play in practices were impressive enough to earn him an invitation to the Senior Bowl. The surprise invitation to the Senior Bowl after a spot opened up led to Moore being coached by the Raiders staff during the week of practice leading up to the game, in person at practice, Moore’s performance intrigued the Raiders.
At the combine Moore again impressed, but he fell down to the third round where he was eagerly scooped up by Reggie McKenzie to join the Raiders. A perfect fit considering Oakland is looking to build their linebacking core from the ground up starting in 2013.
All things considered, Moore feels he was destined to be a Raider, telling Silver & Black Pride’s Levi Damien that he was supposed to be the 66th pick in the draft to Oakland in a candid interview.
Q: When you look at everything you went through and you wound up getting pulled onto the senior bowl with this coaching staff, do you see it you were destined to be here?
Moore: “I know I was. Everything happened the way it was supposed to happen. I wasn’t supposed to go in the first round, wasn’t supposed to go in the second round. I was supposed to go at 66 to the Raiders, I was supposed to be put in the situation I was in, and how it’s all fallen in, I couldn’t be more happy. Because it’s put me in the hungriest position that I can possibly be in. That’s exactly what this team is. We are hungry and we’re willing to work and that’s me.”
Most intriguing was Moore’s claim that he is the best linebacker in the 2013 draft, meaning that he thinks that NFL GM’s made a huge mistake in passing up Moore 65 times before Reggie McKenzie was smart enough to take him.
Q:You told us you’d be the best linebacker in this draft?
Moore: “No, I said I am the best. I am.”
Q: Has there been anything that’s transpired to make you back off that statement?
Eight linebackers were taken ahead of Sio Moore in the 2013 Draft, (Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Manti T’eo, Kevin Minter, Kiko Alonso, Jonathan Bostic, Jamie Collins, Arthur Brown) all except Collins and Brown played for major college football programs and Brown played in the Big 12 at Kansas State which is miles ahead of UConn in terms of football reputation.
Moore might be right in the claims that he is underrated and his confidence and work ethic makes you think that he might just be one of the surprise rookies to breakout this season.
Throw in the fact that he is being given the opportunity to play a serious role with the Raiders right off the bat alongside an experienced veteran in Nick Roach and Moore’s obvious mixture of raw talent and passion and you can see why Sio is so confident and excited about the 2013 season and the start of his career in Oakland.
We might have to wait a couple years to see if Moore was the best linebacker in the 2013 Draft, but for now Raider fans should be excited because at the very least Moore will be one of the best steals of the 2013 NFL Draft. Given his play at training camp and the confidence he exudes, Moore is anything but a 66th pick type of talent. Expect Moore to be one of the NFL’s best defensive rookies in 2013.