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Jerod Mayo, Beast

by Andrew Melnick

Jerod Mayo was the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year in 2008. After registering 128 tackles at ILB during his rookie campaign, Mayo received 49 of the 50 first-place votes to win the award, with Keith Rivers of the Cincinnati Bengals receiving the other. Some people though Mayo was a reach after being picked 10th in the 2008 NFL draft. Those people were dead wrong. Mayo is a 6’1, 242 LB monster and only had one knock on him during his first season. He didn’t make enough big plays. He zero forced fumbles, zero interceptions, zero sacks and just one fumble recovery.

These numbers are more than likely an anomaly. He made many big plays while playing both Outside Linebacker and Middle Linebacker at Tennessee. After recording just 13 tackles during his freshman season, Mayo finished his sophomore season as the starting Outside Linebacker. He only started 11 of the games but wound up posting 83 tackles with 5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. In his Junior season, Mayo was named first team all SEC and a second team All American. He started all 14 games at Middle Linebacker and had 140 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. He also made several big plays including a pick-6. Mayo is very good when he gets the ball into his hands on an interception after rushing for 1,245 yards during his senior season in high school. He added 13 touchdowns and did all this while playing Running Back in just seven games. Mayo ran an astounding 4.56 second 40 yard dash at the NFL combine and is an athletic freak. He is arguably the best fit at ILB that Belichick has ever had. Mayo started all 16 games and won Rookie of the Month in October. Mayo even had a 20 tackle game against the Jets on November 13. I’d expect Mayo to make a lot more big plays and make a run at the pro bowl. For those of you out there wondering how these stats did not earn Mayo all 50 first place votes, the writer who voted for Keith Rivers claimed that he was writing a story about San Diego Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers and had the name “Rivers” stuck in his head.

Pairing Mayo with veterans Adalius Thomas and Tedy Bruschi, plus fellow second year man Gary Guyton, combined with a few youngsters should give the position some stability even without fan-favorite Mike Vrabel.


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