There will be much to watch when the Raiders open their mandatory, three-day minicamp Tuesday.
With the roster getting a severe face-lift this offseason, eyes will be focused on new No. 1 quarterback Matt Flynn (and the quarterbacks who will challenge him), the remade secondary and defensive line and rookie right tackle Menelik Watson.
One player sure to draw attention, too, is rookie outside linebacker Sio Moore.
Moore, the Raiders’ third-round pick from Connecticut, has been making a positive impression since draft day, getting work at both strongside and weakside linebacker in organized team activities (OTAs) that concluded last week.
“His ability to understand multiple positions has been good,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen told reporters recently. “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 think is going to continue to get better as he gets comfortable with the scheme.”
The Raiders are hoping the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Moore can be an impact player both against the run and in the pass rush. He’s an active, energetic player who’ll be wearing No. 55 in silver and black – the number of the departed (and now retired) Rolando McClain, who last season could not be described with either one of those terms.
On Twitter, Moore has gone all in for the Raiders, labeling himself as MrOakTown55. Tuesday morning, as he prepared for the start of minicamp he tweeted, “Be a great day.” On Monday it was: “Mini camp this week. Refocus. Continue to Build and Stack Bricks.”
So far, teammates, coaches and NFL observers have had nothing but good things to say about Moore, who appears totally engaged in his new profession.
“It’s been a lot of work trying to just make the right impression with the coaches and the guys in the locker room,” he told Rebecca Corman of Raiders.com recently. “Show them that I want to work and I want to be good and I want to contribute however I can.”
After he was drafted, he told the media that Oakland was getting “the best linebacker in the draft.”
It was an assessment championed by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., who raved about the Raiders’ selection of Moore when the team picked him.
“Sio Moore’s going to be outstanding,” said Kiper at the time. “He’s going to attack, he can get after the quarterback, he’s a tremendous tackler, he’s instinctive, he can run, he’s versatile.” Kiper called him “one of the best defensive players coming out of this draft.”
So far, the Raiders like what they see.