(Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2012.)
NAME: Sterling Moore
2011 STATS: 6 games (3 starts), 7 defensive tackles, 2 interceptions (1 touchdown), 2 passes defensed
INJURY STATUS: No known injuries
CHANCE OF MAKING 53-MAN ROSTER: 80%
WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: Moore could be among the Patriots' top prospects, having flashed potential after settling in on the team's 53-man roster late last season. With a confident demeanor off the field, Moore showed potential on the field last season as a 21-year-old, flashing strong coverage skills. In organized team activities this offseason, Moore was the sixth defensive back on the field when the team shifted into its dime package, and such a role is where Moore will likely grab a roster spot for this season. At this point, Moore appears to be a player that the Patriots want to keep.
WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: Moore's main competition will come from 33-year-old veteran Will Allen, who shifted to safety for spring practices but is also fighting for a role as an extra defensive back in sub packages. Having played in only six games last season, Moore is still a largely unknown quantity. If he struggles this preseason, the team could have too much competition in the defensive backfield for Moore to grab a roster spot. He is practice-squad eligible, but after gaining national attention with his game-saving pass breakup in the AFC Championship, he would be unlikely to clear waivers.
CLOSEST COMPETITION: S/CB Will Allen, CB Alfonzo Dennard