Last week, ESPN ranked the NFL’s top 10 head coaches, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick was the unquestioned top dog of the group. This week, the NFL’s top 10 linebackers were ranked, and Patriots ILB Jerod Mayo came in at #6. Opinion on Mayo varied amongst the writers who ranked the players. Mayo was ranked as high as #3 on one judge’s scorecard and was not ranked at all on two judges’ scorecards. His score put him one point above the Bears’ Brian Urlacher, and he also beat out the Steelers’ LaMarr Woodley, the Chiefs’ Tamba Hali, and the Panthers’ Jon Beason. Not even ranked are the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs and the Jets’ David Harris.
Here’s what the article has to say about Jerod Mayo:
New England’s Jerod Mayo appeared on six of eight ballots, ranking sixth overall between Lewis and Urlacher. At 25, Mayo was one of two linebackers younger than Willis to earn a spot among the top 10. Matthews, 24, was the other. Graham ranked Mayo third.
“Nose tackle Vince Wilfork might be the anchor of the Patriots’ defense, but Mayo is the one who ties their defense together,” Tim Graham said. “Mayo is a tackling machine who compensates for shortcomings at outside linebacker and injuries along the defensive line. He would be a star in any system.”
Here are the complete linebacker rankings:
1. Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers
2. James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers
3. DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
4. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
5. Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens
6. Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots
7. Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears
8. LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs
9. Jon Beason, Carolina Panthers