'Mocking' Mayo

Based on the mock drafts of several noteworthy football experts, former Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo could be drafted as early as pick No. 15 or as late as Round 2 when the NFL holds its annual talent lottery this weekend.

Mayo's most ardent supporter appears to be Mike Mayock of NFL Network. He rates the ex-Vol No. 1 among all inside linebacker prospects and projects him to be selected by the Detroit Lions with pick No. 15 in Round 1.

Here's what Mayock has to say in explaining Detroit's selection of Mayo:

"Instant upgrade at the sam or the mike, Jerod Mayo, the linebacker from the University of Tennessee. He will be a tremendous complement to weak-side linebacker Ernie Sims."

Conversely, Clark Judge of CBSsportsline.com, does not project Mayo to be among this year's 31 first-round selections.

Interestingly enough, three mock drafts project Mayo staying in-state as a member of the Tennessee Titans. Three more see him going to the Super Bowl champ New York Giants with the 31st – and final – pick in Round 1.

Here are some of the more notable projections regarding Mayo:

- Pat Kirwan, NFL.com: Pick No. 24 to the Tennessee Titans.

- Don Banks, sportsillustrated.com: Pick No. 24 to the Titans.

- Peter King, sportsillustrated.com: Pick No. 24 to the Titans.

- Nolan Nawrocki of profootballweekly.com: Pick. No. 26 to Jacksonville. (The Jaguars picked ex-Vol John Henderson in Round 1 six years ago.)

- Mel Kiper, ESPN: Pick No. 29 to San Francisco.

- Chris Steuber, Scout.com: Pick No. 29 to San Francisco.

- Vic Carucci, NFL.com: Pick No. 31 to the New York Giants.

- Pete Prisco, CBSsportsline: Pick No. 31 to the Giants.

- The Sports Xchange (a group of football writers): Pick No. 31 to the Giants.

Because many NFL teams draft for need more so than talent, a guy can be one of the top 20 players available and still not go in the first round. For what it's worth, Scout.com rates Mayo the No. 22 prospect available in this year's draft. CBSsportsline ranks him No. 28 and Collegefootballnews.com tabs him No. 35.

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