Heading into his second NFL training camp, LB Sio Moore has matured as a player and a person, learning a great deal about how to be a professional during his first year in the pros.
"The biggest thing that I learned is that as good as I want to be at football is as good as I'm going to be at life," said Moore. "It's as responsible as I'm going to be off the field, as good as I'm going to take care of my home that I live in, as good as I'm going to treat my family, my teammates, the people around me, and as much time and effort as I put into myself, it's going to correlate to how I do on the field."
While the former Connecticut Husky gets ready for the 2014 season, he now has the added benefit of being surrounded by players on the defensive side of the ball, like LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck, who can impart their wisdom on the young linebacker.
"What they bring is a different energy, a different swagger," he said. "They bring a different level of expectation because when you're around great players, you want to live up to that. You don't want to be mediocre. You want to be great and you want to try to attain something they have."
After being drafted by the Raiders in the third round of the 2013 Draft, Moore's rookie season was far from mediocre, as he led all Raiders rookies with 55 tackles and was voted the NFL Pepsi Next Rookie of the Week following his 1.5 sacks against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in Week 8.
As impressive as his rookie season was however, the Raiders are looking for Moore to take the next step in his development this season and help to anchor a revamped defense.
Now that the Raiders have Khalil Mack on the roster, the idea of having two young, incredibly talented linebackers roaming the field in Oakland is something that has Raider Nation excited for the future of the Silver and Black.
Although they've only spent limited time on the practice field together, Moore believes that he and the rookie are building a good rapport that will only improve once the pads come on during training camp.
"It's been really good," he said when asked about playing with Mack. "He and I are both out there working, and everybody is working to earn their place. He has a lot of athleticism, a lot of burst, same as me, and we're just out there trying to put it together. Right now it's talk, but if we do what we have to do between the two of us, when we get out there on that field, it can become everything that everybody has made it out to be."
As the Raiders prepare to head to Napa for camp and officially get their 2014 season underway, the quiet confidence that Moore has for the upcoming season is echoed throughout the Oakland locker room.
"It's just an understanding," said Moore. "It's something that we don't have to talk about because it's about the work that we do within the locker room, with the guys in the locker room, in the facility. Everybody understands that, so it's not something that we need to talk about. We understand."
Raider Nation is hopeful that the infusion of veterans GM Reggie McKenzie has acquired, mixed with rising stars like Moore, will lead to positive results once the regular season arrives.