Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. Yesterday we looked at No. 52 Dane Fletcher, and the day before that it was No. 53 Eric Martin. Because today marks 51 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 51, linebacker No. 51 Jerod Mayo.
Selected by the Patriots with the 10th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Mayo is a veteran of seven NFL seasons. During that time, the former Tennessee Volunteer has accumulated 500 total tackles, ten sacks, eight forced fumbles, seven fumbles recovered, three interceptions and 18 passes defended.
In his first five seasons, Mayo missed only five regular season games. He entered the NFL mainstream as one of the league’s best middle linebackers, carving out a reputation for himself as a real workhorse and the brains of the Patriots’ defense.
However, Mayo has appeared in only six games in each of the past two seasons. Mayo will be glad when October 16th passes this season; oddly enough, that has been the date in which he’s been placed on injured reserve in both 2013 and 2014. It was a torn pectoral muscle that ended his 2013 season, and a torn patellar tendon in 2014.
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Taking advantage of Mayo’s absence has been Dont’a Hightower, who became one of the NFL’s best linebackers in 2014. It will be interesting to see if Mayo is able to reclaim the headset this season, or if he will assume a lesser role. It’s also unclear if it will be Mayo or Hightower who will be taking over the middle “Mike” linebacker role, as Musket Fire’s Hal Bent wrote about a few weeks ago.
For more reading on Mayo, see why Tom E. Curran named him the 27th best player in the Bill Belichick era.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 54 Dont’a Hightower, No. 55 Jonathan Freeny, No. 58 Darius Fleming, No. 59 Chris White, No. 60 David Andrews, No. 61 Marcus Cannon, No. 62 Ryan Wendell, No. 63 Tre’ Jackson, No. 64 Chris Barker, No. 65 Jordan Devey, No. 66 Bryan Stork, No. 67 Josh Kline, No. 68 Caylin Hauptmann and No. 69 Shaq Mason.