Stepping away from the free agency talk for a moment, I finally had a chance to listen to one of the Houston Texans podcasts earlier on Texans.com, which featured NFL Networks Daniel Jeremiah.
When asked on potential first round picks for the Texans, Jeremiah instantly listed big names like Keenan Allen and Tavon Austin – two wide receivers that could be available at the 27th spot. But when asked on possible late round prospects, a name Jeremiah mentioned was intriguing – outside linebacker Sio Moore.
Here’s a look:
Sio Moore, Outside Linebacker, UConn
6’1, 245 pounds
Moore is projected to fall to the late second or early third round, simply due to the class that stands at the linebacker spot this year. What he offers though is simple – he’s a solid player that is known for his tackles, and wraps up the ball carrier nicely with little effort. Moore sacked opposing quarterbacks for a total of 55-yards last season, and chalked up 72 tackles. Jeremiah described him as an excellent pass rusher, but he is also capable of jamming a receiver at the line of scrimmage to slow a play down.
Forcing turnovers is also a small part of Moore’s game, which is likely to grow larger when he hits the NFL. In his sophomore year he forced two fumbles with the Huskies, and could develop into a linebacker that can strip the ball away from the opponent thanks to his 33.58 inch arm length.
The area’s that have affected Sio’s draft stock are small compared to others, but he only blocked six passes in his four year college career. That, and Sio does struggle to block with his hands from time to time.
How Could He Help the Texans?
The term ‘sleeper’ is thrown around a lot, but that’s what Sio is – a guy the Texans could develop into a well rounded starter in the future.
Aside from acting as a potential replacement if Connor Barwin signs elsewhere this offseason, the Texans would be getting a guy with speed and agility coming off the edge. Sio ran a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash earlier this month, and has been noted for his ability to beat defenders in his first two strides to chase down the quarterback.
Moore could be better suited to a 4-3 defense, but I’m sure that’s something defensive coordinator Wade Phillips could work on.
The Texans currently have no linebackers over the age 0f 26 on their roster either, so adding some more youth is always a bonus. Houston also ranked first in the AFC South with 44 sacks, earning them the 7th best rushing defense in the league.
If nothing else, picking up Moore in the second or third round and conditioning him into a solid outside man probably helps the Texans defense in the long run – even if he doesn’t start straight away. The defense has already taken a big hit with the loss of Glover Quin this week, so adding some speed off the edge to chase down the big name quarterbacks helps. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady had a picnic last season throwing spirals – that needs to change.
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