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Found June 27, 2013 on Football and Futbol:
PLAYERS: Sio Moore
TEAMS: Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders linebacker unit might be the most improved position on the team. While the Raiders did lose solid contributor Philip Wheeler they have improved on skill and depth at every level of the unit. The biggest addition was by subtraction, epic bust and head case, Rolando McClain was finally cut by the team before he retired. The additions of veterans Nick Roach, Kevin Burnett and Kaluka Maiva give the Raiders solid contributors in the front seven. Rookie Sio Moore is expected to become an instant impact defender and will probably be a starter on week one. Last year’s rookie starter Miles Burris look like the odd-man out at the linebacker position and will probably be a special teams and depth linebacker this year. From day one Nick Roach will be the starting middle linebacker for the Raiders. The former Chicago Bear should be the best mike linebacker to play for the Raiders in recent memory. Not only has Roach proven to be dependable on the run he is also a great cover linebacker. He will bring leadership to a position that was manned by a clown for the last few seasons. With the Raiders expected to run a hybrid 4-3 scheme with 3-4 looks, Roach will be the perfect player to man the middle because he is the student of the game and would be able to call play changes on defense. Kevin Burnett has been a solid starter the last 3 seasons with the Charger and Dolphins. Burnett has accumulated over 90 tackles in every season that he has started and has proven to be a dependable tackler. He will join his brother Kaelin who is a backup linebacker on the team. Expect Burnett to become a starting outside linebacker and if he has a big year he might get a contract extension after the season. Kaluka Maiva will probably be on the field as a run stopping outside linebacker. He has not shown that he can consistently cover running backs and tight ends which will keep him on the bench for the Raiders. It looked like Maiva would battle Burris for the starting outside linebacker spot but the addition of Sio Moore in the third round quieted those talks. Second year man Miles Burris was probably the Raiders best rookie last year. Burris shocked many with his solid play throughout the year. Unfortunately, Burris is the one Raiders player hurt the most by all the addition on the team. Burris will probably be a backup outside and inside linebacker for the Raiders this year. He should see the field as a 3-4 inside linebacker and as a special team’s ace. While Burris could eventually become a starter for the Raiders it looks like he will see less action this season. Rookie Sio Moore could end up being the best linebacker on the team from day one. The 6’1 245 pound Moore put up good numbers at the combine by running a 4.65 40-yard dash and having an NBA-like 38 inch vertical. Moore was the star of the East-West shrine game in which the Raiders coaching staff coached. Moore has a ferocious personality that every team wants out of their linebackers which should bode well for him in the trenches. Expect Moore to become a playmaker for the Raiders this year and don’t be surprised to see his number 55 jersey become  a best seller by the end of his rookie season.  
THE BACKYARD
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