KCCD Staff Writer: Sam Mitchell
Sio Moore, OLB, University of Connecticut
+ Sideline to Sideline speed. Has range to cut off receivers and running backs trying to reach the outside.
+ Can jump to disrupt and knock down balls in his passing lane as a rusher.
+ Has the speed, quickness, and change of direction ability to stick with wide receivers and tight ends downfield. (Glued to wide receiver in slot on double move vs. NC State)
+ Explosive in short areas. Can explode to ball carrier/passer and make the play.
-Not a powerful player. Needs to add strength in the NFL to take on blockers.
+Very quick to shoot gaps. Can beat blockers to their destination.
+Diagnoses plays well and fills correct gap almost all of the time.
+Great in pursuit; can pick his way through trash at his feet while keeping his eyes up.
+Very quick and disruptive off the edge in the run game. Frequently beats tackle around the edge.
+Quick getting around blocks.
+Sure tackler, very few misses.
+Great motor chasing down ball carrier when ball is ran away from him. Chases down runners from behind consistently.
-A weakness when ball is ran toward him. Has a lot of trouble getting off blocks or powering through them.
-If Moore can’t get around a blocker he is frequently washed out of plays.
-Not an edge setter.
+Showed the ability to cover tight ends in college and even stuck with wide receivers from big time schools. Very impressive for a linebacker.
+Very physical in coverage. Gets hands on man at line and disrupts timing. Doesn’t let receivers run through his zone clean, hits receivers in his zone within 5 yards.
+Reads QB’s eyes nicely. Undercut ball against Vanderbilt. Anticipates who QB will throw to by reading eyes and breaks on him to make tackles.
+Really good hustle in this area too. Chases down receivers downfield.
-Got pulled in badly by play action one play.
-Looked lost in zone at one point when two receivers entered zone, couldn’t decide which to cover.
-Didn’t get a good overall impression of his hands, but did drop one easy INT.
+Plays with his hand in the dirt at times and has explosive first step off the line.
+Good speed rush. Challenges the edge, which can cause Tackles to overset outside.
+Can dip and bend at the top of the pocket and flatten himself to get to the QB and not get ran wide of the pocket.
+3 sack performance against Vanderbilt.
+Frequently commanded a chip from the RB.
+Seems to understand leverage when bull rushing but only bull rushed a few times.
+Explosive closing speed on the QB in the pocket.
+High motor, keeps fighting to the QB.
+If he can’t reach the passer he makes sure to get his hands up and disrupt throwing lanes.
+Showed really good timing when blitzing the A gap from a traditional Sam position.
-Needs more power and counter moves. Relies on speed.
-Not a powerful rusher, gets really thrown off by RB chips.
-Not very active with his hands when rushing. Needs better hand use to disengage once blocker gets hands on him.
+Plays all over the defense. Lines up at the Sam and Will LB spots and has lined up DE and even over receivers in the slot. Very versatile player.
+Played special teams even as a Senior.
+All Big East first team selection in 2012.
Summary: A talented athlete, Sio Moore has the ability to play both outside linebacker spots in a 43. At this point Moore doesn’t have the core strength to set the edge as a 34 OLB or take on blockers a 34 SILB. Moore looks like a 2nd to 3rd round pick in a traditional 43 defense, with the sideline to sideline speed, recognition skills, and ability to pick his way through trash to fit in immediately as a weakside backer. Moore also has the skillset to fit in nicely as a strong side backer due to his coverage skills to line up on a TE and cover him one on one, and his pass rushing ability, although he will need to gain more strength and learn to better disengage from blockers to be effective when the ball is ran toward him. Moore will be able to be an effective blitzer from both positions, but will need to put on some size and develop some counter moves and better hand use if he wants to be used as a hand in the dirt rusher on passing downs again. The good thing is these traits are coachable and Moore has some explosive edge rushing ability and bend that cannot be taught, which will be used by defensive coordinators to create matchup issues. My only concern about Moore is his ability to get off, and fight through, blocks. When blocked head on he can be washed right out of the play, which limits his scheme versatility and can make him a target to be run at by opposing offenses. With proper coaching Moore will become an effective pass rusher, which coupled with his sideline to sideline speed and decent coverage ability will make him a versatile weapon for a defense.