Need To Know: Sio Moore

Whether he plays inside or outside linebacker, Connecticut's Sio Moore is a play-making menace. The story of his on-the-field play, however, isn't nearly as interesting as his off-the-field story.

Sio Moore's first name is short for Snorsio.

"It means ‘God is the greatest,' and Sio means ‘Greatest,'" Moore said at the Scouting Combine. "It's a heavy name and a great purpose."

Moore, a productive linebacker who could be a second-round target for the Green Bay Packers, was born in Liberia but moved to the United States before he was 1 when his family won a visa lottery to escape an escalating Civil War.

Greatness, however, wasn't immediate. A teen-ager growing up in West Haven, Conn., Moore's life had reached a tipping point. One night when he was 14, he was hanging out after a late-night party when gunshots were fired. Moore ran for his life and almost died when a bullet whizzed past his right ear and hit a car next to him.

After some soul-searching, Moore moved to Apex, N.C., with his sister, who is 19 years his senior, and her family. Moore took advantage of his fresh start.

Connecticut signed the two-star recruit who starred at fullback and turned him into a big-play linebacker. After redshirting in 2008 and playing sparingly in 2009, Moore burst onto the scene in 2010. In three seasons in the starting lineup, Moore rang up 268 tackles, including 43 for losses and 16 sacks. In 2010 and 2011, he forced four fumbles and intercepted four passes. In 2012, he was named first-team all-Big East with eight sacks, 15.5 tackles for losses and 11 passes defensed.

"I've always felt like everything I go into, I've got to go into it with a chip on my shoulder," Moore said. "You know, I haven't been given a lot. I'd rather earn everything that I do have or I do gain. So, when it comes to proving people wrong, I'm used to it."

Moore has put together a huge offseason. He was a standout during East-West Shrine Bowl week, then immediately stood out as a late addition at the Senior Bowl. Then came the Scouting Combine: Among linebackers, his 4.65 in the 40 ranked fifth, his 29 reps on the bench ranked second and his 38-inch vertical ranked third.

Moore said he likes to watch Von Miller and Daryl Washington because their athletic ability puts them in position to make plays.

"They can play anywhere on the defense as linebackers," he said. "They can play on the line, they can pass rush, they can cover, they can play in the box versus the run and they can play the pass game straight up. I like how that game is played. You know, that's something that I want to prove to teams that I can do at a high level."

Moore's connection is a good one. Miller is a 3-4 outside linebacker and Washington is a 3-4 inside linebacker.

What would Moore play in the NFL?

According to Phil Savage, the former Browns general manager and current executive director of the Senior Bowl, Moore could play inside linebacker in a 3-4 because he's more of a blitzer than a pass rusher. According to Dave-Te' Thomas, the league's top talent evaluator who runs Scouting Services Inc., a consulting service used by most teams — including the Packers — Moore is more of an outside linebacker who would be a weapon rushing the passer and dropping into coverage.

"He needs a good linebacker coach," Thomas said. "He needs someone to say, ‘You know what kid? Why don't we just tone it down a little bit and play 80 mph instead of 90 mph and think before you do something.' If somebody gets him to sit back and recognize the play, they're going to have themselves a killer."

With a strong body of work on the field and in the athletic tests, Moore has worked his way into a near-certain Day 2 prospect and most likely into the second round, according to sources.

"I'm glad people are taking notice, but for me, I'm just going back to work," Moore said. "You know, making my statement and proving my point that I am one of the best linebackers in this class, and I can provide a great deal to a ballclub."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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