10 possible Patriots: Sio Moore

With the NFL Draft closing in, ESPNBoston.com is narrowing its list of prospects that it projects as the best fits for the Patriots at areas that seem likely the club could target:

Player: Sio Moore

School: Connecticut

Position: Linebacker

Listed height/weight: 6-foot-0, 245 pounds

Scouts Inc. rank: 3rd (scouting report)

Draft projection: Third round

Why he’s on our list: The Patriots have starting linebackers Jerod Mayo (weakside), Brandon Spikes (middle) and Dont’a Hightower (strongside) returning, but could be looking for a depth-based option with good cover skills. Moore potentially fits. Also, Spikes enters the final year of his contract in 2013.

Recommended link: John Silver of SNYUConn.com has Moore’s Q&A from the NFL combine.

Key stat: Totaled 11 pass breakups in 12 games last season.

Workout stat: Amassed 29 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press.

Steve Muench of Scouts Inc.: “I’d be hard pressed to find a prospect who has made more of the offseason evaluation process this year and it started with a strong week at the East-West Shrine game. The way he flew around the field there led to a late invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he continued to stand out. Next up was the combine, where he posted the fifth fastest 40-time (4.65 seconds) for linebackers after measuring 6006 and weighing in at a ripped 245 pounds. The rest of the testing was just as impressive. He finished second on the bench with 29 reps of 225 pounds, his 38-inch vertical jump ranked third and his 10-foot-7 broad jump ranked fourth for linebackers. In addition, he caught all but one pass and looked good during position specific drills. Of course, this would not mean nearly as much if the film didn’t back it up and in Moore’s case the film backs it up. His greatest strength is his ability to make an impact on third down and in passing situations. He covers a lot of ground in zone coverage and he’s fluid enough to match up with most backs and tight ends in man coverage. His massive hands (10.2 inches), long arms (33.5) and ability to play the ball don’t hurt either. Moore can rush the passer too. He shows good burst off the edge and locates seams in the protection when he rushes between the tackles. In terms of defending the run, there’s a lot to like about his range and aggressiveness. On the other hand, he doesn’t always play with great gap discipline and he can improve his ability to get off blocks.”