EAST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 09: Sio Moore #3 of the University of Connecticut Huskies celebrates with his teammates following their win against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers during the game on November 9, 2012 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Sio Moore was the heart and soul of the Huskies defense and now he hopes to do the same for his new team, the Oakland Raiders. Selected in the third round of last month's NFL Draft, there's the very real possibility Moore earns a starting job heading into the 2013 season. The Raiders lost versatile linebacker Philip Wheeler to the Dolphins and Moore was drafted in part to replace him. And so far, so good.
"Everything is a learning experience, but we've got to pick it up," Moore said last week via CSNCalifornia, referring to the recently concluded minicamp.
"I love it. They've given me an opportunity to do a little bit of everything. And it's just right now, learning it all and really being exact…being exact and perfect."
Raiders coach Dennis Allen was high on Moore throughout the pre-draft process and those feelings haven't changed after working with him on the field.
"His ability to understand multiple positions has been good," the coach said. "He's a guy that, like I said after we drafted him, he loves football. He wants to work. He wants to get better. And he's a guy that I just think is going to continue to get better as he gets comfortable with the scheme."
Worth remembering: we're in the shorts-and-t-shirt portion of the offseason, which means everybody looks good this time of year. Still, Allen has seen enough football to know that Moore can be special.
"He's got some of those attributes (like Wheeler)," Allen admitted. "He's athletic in space, which was something Philip was really good at. I think he's got great awareness for the game and he's probably got a little bit more coming off the edge. Phil was really good inside, had a lot of wiggle. Sio has probably got a little bit more edge rush to him."
As for the number Moore will wear with the Raiders, he settled on 55.
"The PR guy called my house the day after the draft and he gave me some numbers to choose from," he said. "I went to my mom, she said '55.' I said, '55.' You don't go against mom. Not when Mother's Day close."