In the Raider rebuild this off-season, they lost a few of the big personalities in the locker room. Guys like Mike Mitchell, Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour, and Michael Huff are no longer around. Now, the first sign of replacing their locker room presence has shown up in the form of third round pick Sio Moore.
"The thing with me is I was a guy that was overlooked and you know, I had to work my tail off each and every way in everything that I have to this day," said Moore. "Everything I do, I do with juice. I was glad [the Raiders] picked me up because I know that was the right fit. They know me and they didn't need to do the interview process and all those things. Like I said from the beginning of this whole draft process, there's going to be one team that's going to fall in love and make the right pick and there's going to be 31 other teams that are going to be pissed off. The Oakland Raiders got the best linebacker in the draft, I don't care who went before."
Those are strong words from a third round pick who saw 10 linebackers taken ahead of him in this draft. That kind of talk can't go unquestioned so I asked him why he thought he was the best.
"I'm not a guy that hasn't done any and everything on the field," Moore responded. "I've played every position on the field and done so in a productive manner and have the film to prove it. I'm not a guy you have to say ‘Oh, he can do this or we can have him do that.' I've done every aspect of the game and I've been productive and each and every one. I have the film to prove it unlike a lot of other linebackers. The coaches know that.
"For me, I take that and use that not to brag and boast but as a chip on my shoulder because even though I can do a bunch of things I'm still overlooked. It's a shame but it's also a blessing because it's the reason why I'm pissed off. Going to Oakland they're going to get a pissed off linebacker that wants to prove why he's the best linebacker coming out this year. I don't care about the guys drafted before me. I play with juice. None of those guys are as hungry as me. None of those guys want to work as hard as me. I'm going to make sure wherever I go, whoever I'm with I'm going to outwork them."
That gigantic chip on his shoulder will come in handy to help him prove himself at this stage just as he had all his previous stages.
He wasn't invited to the Senior Bowl this year - he settled for the Shrine Game. He played so well in the Shrine Game, he earned a trip to the Senior Bowl. That's where he met the Raiders' staff who coached him on the North team and how he was able to impress them.
"Here's a guy that we had an opportunity to spend a lot of time at the Senior Bowl," said Dennis Allen of Moore. "That's one of the things that when you look at it, we spent a week with this guy; in the meeting rooms with him, in the dining hall with him, watching him interact with the other players. You talk about a guy that loves football. He really epitomizes when you talk about a guy that loves football. So, we're trying to get as many quality football players as we can and he fits that mold.
"You look at the tape and you see the qualities on the tape and you see the play on the tape - I think he had the tenth most tackles for loss in the NCAA last year - he's a guy that has that type of ability, but just being around that guy for a week, he's the type of guy that we want to bring into that locker room."
There is no doubt, Moore has just the kind of swagger this team needs. Every team needs that. The other players the Raiders have brought in don't have the same temperament as Moore. I asked Dennis Allen even with the completely different personalities and playing experiences, what they all have in common that struck the Raiders' interest and he said drive and passion and the attitude to prove that they belong in the NFL.
That ‘prove it' mentality has been a common theme around these parts all off-season. That fits a team which will need to prove they can be competitive this season.