Sons of Bill Simmons

Rumors involving Boston Sports, Celebrity Gossip, and Humor

Jerod Mayo Overrated ?

Posted by Mike on November 7, 2008

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Eight games into his NFL career, Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo looks like the odds on favorite for NFL rookie defensive player of the year. Or so we thought. According to ESPN’s KC Joyner, you can throwout Mayo’s team leading 55 tackles because many of those tackles are after the point of attack. Halfway through the season, it appeared that Mayo was one of the few bright spots on the Patriots defense. In fact other than Adalius Thomas and James Sanders, no one has played more on defense. Mayo has made a smooth transition from playing at the University of Tennessee to the very complicated Belichick defense. Joyner concern with Mayo is that “he actually is struggling quite badly in one of the primary functions for his position. I have broken down six of the Patriots‘ eight games, and in that sample, Mayo has been at the run POA 34 times. He has defeated only six of those blocks”. Typically, this is an aspect of the game that rookies to struggle at, due to the change of speed and physicality of the game. Which is why very few rookies start at middle linebacker. But, clearly Mayo has shown a lot more that what Joyner thinks. You don’t start all eight games as a rookie for a Bill Belichick defense cause you were a first-round pick. More from Joyner:

Mayo is a perfect example of a player whose tackles total raises his perceived performance level well above what it truly is. Mayo won the rookie defensive player of the month award in October largely because of his 24 tackles in that period.

Mayo’s point-of-attack (POA) run metrics for the season show that he actually is struggling quite badly in one of the primary functions for his position. I have broken down six of the Patriots’ eight games, and in that sample, Mayo has been at the run POA 34 times. He has defeated only six of those blocks, which equates to a POA win percentage of 17.7. If historical trends are a good indicator, that would place him in the bottom quarter of the league at season’s end. His run-stuffing prowess is probably even worse than that if the 7.2 yards per attempt on the POA runs is added to the analysis.

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