UConn linebacker Sio Moore proved to be versatile in college, playing various positions in the front seven. He registered a career-high 110 tackles as a sophomore in 2010 and 14.5 total sacks over the past two seasons.
When you watch Moore on film, the first thing you need to do is locate him before each play; he lines up all over the field—as a middle linebacker, on the weak side, as a pass-rusher, and even in the slot. The Huskies used Moore in a variety of roles throughout his career, and he did an amazing job of learning and thriving in each.
Moore is actually a talented rusher, but as his size (6-1, 245 pounds), he won’t be doing as much of that in the NFL. I think whichever team drafts Moore should consider using him often as a blitzer because he’s that good, however. He’s probably best suited as a Will linebacker in a 4-3—a spot from which he can rush the passer, drop into coverage, and read and react. I even think Moore could move to defensive end in nickel situations.
It’s worth noting that Moore has really long arms for his height at nearly 34 inches; that’s longer than a lot of the linemen in this class, and it could be a major reason that Moore is effective as a pass-rusher. He also uses those long arms to extend away from blockers, disengage, and make tackles. He’s really effective at keeping blockers away from his body so he can stay free to bring down the ball-carrier.
In coverage, Moore can cover backs or tight ends, whether it’s out of the backfield, over the middle of the field, or even in the slot. He resembles a big safety in coverage, going a nice job of flipping his hips and running with smaller players.
When he lined up inside at UConn, Moore showed the ability to play as a “prototypical” inside linebacker; he’s aggressive and plays fast. Moore’s most impressive stat during his UConn career is that he racked up 43 tackles for loss since 2010—a ridiculous number that shows his ability to make plays.
NFL Comparison: Bobby Wagner
Wagner was a rookie out of Utah State who dominated for Seattle in 2012. Another “undersized” linebacker, Wagner is a versatile player and the future of the position.
Moore is currently projected to go in either the late second or early third. I think he’s a legitimate second-round talent—a player who will step right in and have an impact similar to Wagner’s in 2012.
Fit In Dallas
The Cowboys already had Moore in for a visit, so there’s interest. The ‘Boys are obviously going small at the linebacker position this year, so it’s not out of the question that Moore could play the Sam spot alongside Sean Lee and Bruce Carter. I think Moore’s versatile enough to play all three linebacker positions for Monte Kiffin, which would give him added value for Dallas. They’ll probably have to grab him in the second if they want him, which might be a stiff price to pay for a team with a lot of needs.
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Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.