While NFL teams are shaving rosters by Saturday’s deadline, the Indianapolis Colts added another player Friday with the acquisition of linebacker Sio Moore from the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a late-round 2016 pick. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported the Colts gave up a sixth-round selection.
The inclusion of Moore, 25, raises questions about how he will fit into the Colts’ 3-4 scheme. And as a result, who he will supplant on the depth chart?
A third-round pick in 2013, Moore started out as one of the Raiders’ core players, versatile enough to play inside or outside in their 4-3 scheme. He started 22 of 26 games played and made 140 tackles, including 105 solos, with 7.5 sacks.
The Colts could be planning to use Moore at outside linebacker, especially if six-time Pro Bowl star Robert Mathis isn’t deemed ready for the Sept. 13 season opener at Buffalo. If Mathis suits up for Week 1, his stated goal since before training camp, then Moore could replace out one of the backups, most likely underachieving 2013 first-round choice Bjoern Werner.
Moore’s size, 6-1 and 240 pounds, suggests he could also be an inside linebacker. The Colts added run-stuffer Nate Irving in free agency from Denver, but he’s coming off knee surgery and didn’t make his preseason debut until Thursday, when he was on the field for just two series to shake off some rust and was credited with one tackle assist.
Irving likely needs more time to get into game shape — he suffered the 2014 season-ending injury in his eighth game while with Denver. Anterior cruciate ligament tears typically require at least one year for a player to return to form, although Irving has said he’s ahead of schedule.
Why Moore is available is another question. He’s coming off major hip surgery and reportedly spent a lot of time in the training room this offseason. The Raiders overhauled their coaching staff and head coach Jack Del Rio said last week the linebacker was competing to be a role player. The former All-Rookie team defender had been relegated to special teams.
Presuming he is healthy, he joins a Colts defense in need of toughness, especially against the run. His new team has already suffered a preseason loss in defensive tackle Arthur Jones, who is undergoing ankle surgery and could miss half of the season if not more.
Last season, Moore started 11 games and finished with 90 tackles, 67 of them solos, with three sacks, one forced fumble and one pass defended.
Born in Liberia, Africa, he moved to the U.S. as a young child and played his college ball at Connecticut, where he was a first-team All-Big East performer as a senior in 2012. The Raiders selected him with the 66th overall pick.
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