Before the Carolina Panthers
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*Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com
The road was long to the NFL for David Mayo, one that included a period of time where he lived in a shed. He was playing at Santa Monica College, a junior college, and the rent was so high in the area that this was all he could afford.
However, he was able to earn a spot with the Texas State Bobcats and after two seasons cut short by injury, Mayo registered 154 total tackles. This ranked second in the nation and he earned Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
What the Analysts Said
STRENGTHS Compensates for a lack of athleticism with above average instincts and a motor that keeps him in plays.
WEAKNESSES Stiff with a lack of speed and functional quickness.
-Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
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The linebacker position is one of the deeper positions on the roster and ahead of Mayo on the depth chart is the best middle linebacker in the game today, Luke Kuechly. He was able to have an impact with this team though and played an important role on special teams and the coverage teams.
Mayo was a high volume tackler at the collegiate level and if his number is called, he could play a similar role in this defense. However, playing behind a player like Kuechly, the playing time may be limited. The Panthers' middle linebacker has only missed four regular season games in his career, which happened at the beginning of last season.
If Kuechly was to miss time, Mayo probably wouldn't be the next man up as the team still has A.J. Klein. The veteran linebacker stepped in for Kuechly last year and has more experience in this defense than Mayo.
The sophomore season for Mayo may be very similar to his rookie season, where he will need to make an impact on the special team coverage. This may not be a bad thing though as Mayo will continue to learn the position from one of the best in the league and can continue his development while contributing in other facets of the game.