Patriots Player Previews: #98 Eric Moore

CHICAGO IL - DECEMBER 12: Eric Moore #98 of the New England Patriots sacks quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 12 2010 in Chicago Illinois. The Patriots defeated the Bears 36-7. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

Leading up to the start of the Patriots season, we will be previewing one or two Patriots players per day (counting down from #99), taking a look at their 2010 seasons and projecting what each player might bring to the table in 2011.  Feel free to leave your own predictions in the comments section!

Name: Eric Moore

Position: LOLB/DE

Age/HT/WT: 30 / 6'4" / 268 lbs

Years Pro: 5

College: Florida State

2010 Season: Picked up late in the season by the Patriots, Eric Moore wasn't expected to be a big-time player for New England.  Despite playing in just four games and adjusting to a 3-4 defense for the first time in his career, Moore stepped in and started three games for the Patriots, picking up 14 tackles and a pair of sacks in the process.  He showed the ability to get to the quarterback, as evidenced by his two sacks.  However, Moore showed surprising strength setting the edge and was even able to drop into coverage at times.  In addition, when the Patriots were starved of defensive lineman, Moore even took his try as a 3-4 defensive end.

2011 Projected Role: While Moore's four games in a Patriots uniform were particularly impressive, it's important to keep things in perspective. Players can have hot stretches, and we have yet to see Moore play a full season for the team.  Keeping that in mind, having a full training camp (*crosses fingers) should only help Moore compete with the likes of Tully Banta-Cain and Rob Ninkovich for playing time.  If Moore does manage to earn a starting role, it will be interesting to see if he plays more on the left side or right side.  Jermaine Cunningham is likely to start, and he can play either outside linebacker spot.  However, if I had to made a prediction, I would say that the outside linebacker position could shape out like the left end position.  I think there will be a rotation there, with players such as Dane Fletcher, Marques Murrell, or possibly even rookie Markell Carter get a shot as well.

2011 Projected Stats: 16 games played, 5 games started, 32 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 FF

Bottom Line: Rotational starter at OLB with a chance to earn a full-time starting job in training camp.

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