The Steelers continue to look for defensive talent to fill the current holes on the team and perhaps to start planning to replace some of the aging veterans in a year or two. As we often see, talent on the college playing field doesn’t always transfer to talent on the NFL field. I haven’t seen the success to failure ratio for those who get a chance to play in the NFL, but I’m sure the team know it. Just to get a visit to a team probably seems like a positive sign to the college athlete trying to make it in the bigs.
Sio Moore, who played for the University of Connecticut, visited the Steelers on Thursday. His draft profile on NFL.com is fairly positive. It concludes that even though he isn’t the “biggest of linebackers” he plays stronger than people might think. He is listed as 6’1” and 245 pounds. I began to wonder, what is the “desired” size for a linebacker? It seems to me that Moore is at a comparable size. Compared to LaMarr Woodley who is listed at 6’2” and 265 pounds, I’m not sure what to really make of that claim. I know some contend that Woodley was too heavy last year which inhibited his ability to move fast enough to make the plays. I looked at the rest of the Steeler’s linebackers and Moore’s height and weight is in the same range as the linebackers on the roster. It’s not like these guys are playing basketball and need to be seven feet tall. Last season, James Harrison was listed at 6’0” and 242 pounds which is similar to Moore.
UConn may not have the strongest football program, but the Steelers have a knack for finding talent at programs that aren’t in the center of the spotlight. Harrison, for example, came out of Kent State. During his college career, Moore played 41 games with 172 solo tackles and 16 sacks. The NFL.com draft profile also lists him as a “disciplined player who follows through on his assignments.” However, another knock on him is his lack of closing speed and inability to run down opponents. However, I’m not suggesting that Moore should be Harrison’s replacement, only that the Steelers have interest in him. At this point, the question is whether Moore is a potential draft pick or is he an undrafted free agent?
Moore is an attractive prospect, but probably not as a draft pick. I discussed before that I thought Michael Mauti was also an attractive prospect partly because of his passion and intensity. However, Mauti’s injury history is a major concern. I can’t find much on Moore in the way of leadership or the other intangibles. However, compared to Mauti (listed at 6’2” and 232 pounds), Moore does not have an injury history. So, if you stacked the two side-by-side (and I know there are more prospects to compare), Moore may seem like the safer choice. Looking at the stats for the Big East games against schools like Rutgers and Maryland, Moore has had some standout moments. He’s definitely worth putting into the pile of potential linebackers. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out in the draft to see where the holes remain.