I was watching SportsCenter within the last half-hour, and Mel Kiper was on, since, you know, it's that time of year. After profiling Ezekiel Ansah, the host asked him for an under-the-radar player who people aren't hyping as much as others but would present excellent "value" as a pick after the first round. Kiper's response: Sio Moore. Then, naturally, he went into a classic Kiper diatribe, doing his classic Kiper schtick, chock-full of dramatic pauses, voice inflections and gesticulations. He anointed Moore as a "solid second round pick" who might deserve to go higher.
STORY TIME! It was late December, I was a few weeks into my 2013 NFL draft evaluations, still very much in the early, information-gathering stages. I was watching a recording of the Maryland/Connecticut game on my DVR from September. This one player kept jumping off the screen, literally jumping as he exploded off the ground to bat down passes. He was unstoppable around the edge as a pass rusher, racking up 2.5 sacks, and showed tremendous pursuit in chasing the play. This dude was an athletic freak and made plays all over the field. I audibly said "wow" on three occasions. After the third such occasion, I paused the DVR and brought up the Connecticut football roster on ESPN.com, searching for #3. His name: Sio Moore. Luckily, draftbreakdown.com had three more of his games (NC State, Rutgers, Pittsburgh). Below is the resulting scouting report I wrote, which I may or may not have emailed to a current NFL GM. Since that time, two more cutups (Louisville, Temple) have been added, and I've taken a look at those, as well, but decided to stick with my original evaluation for the sake of this post. I have also updated his height/weight and workout numbers.
My conclusion that persists to today: Sio's a versatile player with legit ability who's a very impressive pass rusher due to explosion/power/leverage/bend/balance combination, but not developing more moves and being a one-trick pony with the bull rush will limit his overall effectiveness in this regard. Moore is an intriguing talent and three-down LB who can play multiple positions and fit in a variety schemes. However, his hot/cold motor and sometimes passive nature really aggravated me, and I don't feel his play on tape consistently matched up with the excellent workout numbers.
Name: Sio Moore
Height/Weight: 6006 / 245
Class: Sr. (redshirt)
40 Yrd Dash: 4.62
20 Yrd Dash: 2.64
10 Yrd Dash: 1.58
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 29
Vertical Jump: 38
Broad Jump: 10'07"
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.31
3-Cone Drill: 7.49
2012 games viewed: vs. NC State, @ Maryland, @ Rutgers, vs. Pittsburgh
Definitely talented and can be a force when engaged
Looks bigger than listed weight, strong
Versatile; can play with his hand in the ground or standing up, but is most comfortable when tasked with rushing the quarterback
Dangerous, effective blitzer with good timing
Not the smoothest athlete in space, but passable and has shown ability to hang with receivers in coverage
Impressive, explosive leaper who reads the quarterback well, active hands routinely get in passing lanes
Disruptive pass rusher; quick around the edge and dips shoulder to slip under offensive tackle while maintaining balance and momentum
Anticipates the snap really well, shows burst and can blow up plays before they even start; forces QB to get rid of the ball before he's ready and racks up tackles for loss
Drew some critical holding penalties (including one that negated a touchdown run for Rutgers: 1Q, 2:33 left, 3-0 Rutgers)
Ability to get leverage on OT when pass rushing jumps out, puts him on roller skates back into QB; typically does the same thing leverage-wise and uses hands well when taking on blocker in space, has a knack for pushing him into path of ball carrier
Always seems to be flowing to the ball
Can drop back and play in space, but is a little stiff -- I wouldn't say it's a strength, but not a prohibitive weakness either
Flashes football smarts and coverage awareness
Diagnoses screen passes immediately and has quickness to react before blocker can get to him
Durable, played and started in all 37 games over last 3 seasons
Average tackler -- has moments where he soundly breaks down and wraps up ball carrier, has others where he tries to administer big hit but misses and takes himself out of the play
I thought he had adequate speed, but didn't strike me as a 4.63 guy (as listed on his NFLDraftScout.com page); can be a second late arriving
Not thrilled with his motor, will slow down especially if he doesn't make the play initially
Effort at end of play needs to be better, doesn't consistently finish enough
Conditioning? Looks like he's tired, appears to labor at the end of some plays and that's why he couldn't/didn't finish
Doesn't have an array of moves when rushing the passer, relies mostly on speed and bull rush
Gets in position, but doesn't always make the play (see: dropped interception vs. Pittsburgh, tight coverage on #88 for NC State but can't make play on the ball and gives up completion)
Sometimes seems content to shadow the play and let teammate make the tackle while he just watches the pile
I've seen him take on offensive lineman with no problem but also get single-blocked by TE, RB, and WR
Will get caught cheating and trying to read the QB instead of sticking with his assignment in coverage
Tweener; what's his position at the next level? Does he fit best as a 3-4 OLB so he can rush the passer? Can he play inside in a 3-4, or is he SLB or WLB in 4-3?
Total tackle production declined in each of his three seasons as starter -- not sure if the reason is play- or scheme-related; TFL and sack numbers remained consistent, so I wonder how much reason there is for concern, especially without watching game tapes from 2010 and 2011
Forced 8 turnovers combined (4 INT, 4 FF) -- with 3 FR -- in 2010 and 2011, but 0 in 2012 (with 1 FR)
Value: 3rd-4th round
2009: 4 GP, 6 TT (2 solo), 1 TFL (1 yard)
2010: 13 GP, 110 TT (72 solo), 11.5 TFL (32 yards), 1.5 sacks (10 yards), 1 PD, 1 INT, 2 FF, 2 FR
2011: 12 GP, 86 TT (55 solo), 16 TFL (58 yards), 6.5 sacks (40 yards), 6 PD, 3 INT, 2 FF, 1 FR
2012: 12 GP, 72 TT (45 solo), 15.5 TFL (78 yards), 7.5 sacks (55 yards), 11 PD, 0 INT, 0 FF, 1 FR
Full name: Snorsio Alston Moore
DOB: May 2, 1990
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Apex, North Carolina
High School: Apex High (Apex, NC)
"2011: Has more tackles than any other returning Husky ... started all 12 games last year at linebacker ... has started 21 games during his Husky career ... was the third-leading tackler on the 2011 Huskies with 86 and led the team with 16 tackles for a loss and was second with 6.5 sacks ... had a season-high 13 tackles vs. Louisville and also had ten vs. Pittsburgh (Oct. 26) ... his career high remains 17 tackles vs. West Virginia (Oct. 20, 2010) ... had 3.5 tackles for a loss of 21 yards at Vanderbilt (Sept. 10) ... all of those TFLs were also sacks ... was 21st in the country in tackles for a loss with 1.33 per game and was second in the BIG EAST.
2010: Two-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week...Started nine of the final ten games of the season...Was the second leading tackler on the team with 110 stops...Was second on the team with 11.5 tackles for a loss and also had 1.5 sacks...Had 17 tackles in win over West Virginia (Oct. 29) and was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week for the WVU game...Was also named the Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Football Writers Association of America/Bronko Nagurski Award National Defensive Player of the Week...Also earned the Defensive Game Ball...Turned in double-digit tackles with 16 vs. Buffalo (Sept. 25), 12 vs. Rutgers (Oct. 8) and 10 vs. USF (Dec. 4)...Was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week for the Buffalo game...Had an interception against Buffalo and a pair of forced fumbles vs. West Virginia.
2009: Saw action in four games ... Had six tackles on the season with one tackle for a loss ... Made three tackles with that tackle for a loss against Rhode Island (Sept. 26) ... also made a tackle against Ohio (Sept. 5), Pittsburgh (Oct. 10) and Syracuse (Nov. 28).
2008: Redshirted ... Named the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week before the Louisville (Sept. 26), North Carolina (Oct. 4) and Syracuse (Nov. 15) games ... Named the Special Teams Scout Team Player of the Week before the Hofstra game (Aug. 28).
High School: Named all-area ... Played his freshman year at West Haven (Conn.) High School before moving to North Carolina."