As we near the start of training camp, the New England Patriots countdown to kickoff series rolls on. The purpose of this series is to highlight the best Patriots player to wear every number as a way to countdown to Week One of the NFL season. With there being 51 days left until kickoff the subject of today’s piece is none other than linebacker Jerod Mayo.
51 Days to Kickoff: Jerod Mayo
Jerod Mayo was selected 10th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In his rookie season, he brought home the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Over the course of his career he made it to two Pro Bowls and earned one All Pro selection. Mayo’s best year undoubtedly came in 2010. Mayo racked up 175 tackles with 114 of those being solo tackles. In addition to this, he also forced a fumble and recovered three over the course of the season. Mayo finished his career in New England with 808 tackles and eleven sacks.
One thing that is synonymous with Jerod Mayo is injuries. Despite being such an integral part of the Patriots culture, Mayo often found himself out injured. He played sixteen games just three times and had two seasons where he played under ten games. This is incredibly unfortunate when thinking about how good Mayo was when healthy. Towards the end of Mayo’s career his lack of durability and the rise of Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins lead to a cut in his playing time and eventually his early retirement at just 29 years old. Although his career was cut short Mayo made a lasting impact on the field in his eight year career.
Reaching the Mountain Top
Mayo was one of those great Patriots who played most of his career in that time in between the two ends of the dynasty. However, in 2014, the captain of the defense finally reached the top of the mountain. Despite only playing six games before going on injured reserve with a pectoral injury, he was a crucial part of building the culture of the defense and helping the younger players. Even though he didn’t play much during the championship season of 2014, Mayo was a big of a part of that title as any one player.
Mayo The Coach
During his playing career, Mayo was highly regarded as one of the most intelligent players on his team as well as being heralded as a great leader by his teammates. These attributes led to the Patriots hiring Mayo to their coaching staff for the upcoming season. Mayo will undoubtedly enter the Patriots Hall of Fame as a player, and he now has the opportunity to make an impact as a coach. His high football I.Q. and leadership skills make him a perfect fit on the Patriots staff. Mayo’s knowledge of the Patriots defensive system, as well as his ability to relate to the players he coaches, should make him an excellent coach and a strong defensive coordinator candidate in the future. There is little doubt that Jerod Mayo is the best Patriots player to wear the number 51. He now has the chance to make a lasting impact on the next generation of Patriots players.