Saints Scouting Report: Jerod Mayo

Each day leading up to the NFL Draft, Saintsinsider.com will break down a player that the New Orleans Saints may be interested in on draft day. Today it's Tennessee LB Jerod Mayo. Find out his vitals, his college statistics, what our Scout.com personnel guru Tom Marino thinks of him and Matthew Postins' thoughts on how Mayo could fit in with the Saints.

Jerod Mayo

POSITION: Linebacker.

MEASURABLES: 6-foot-1, 242, 4.54 in the 40 at the combine.

COLLEGE CAREER: In 36 games at Tennessee, Mayo started 24 contests. He recorded 236 tackles (137 solo) with six quarterback pressures, 6.5 sacks for minus-51 yards and 21 stops for losses of 82 yards. He recovered and caused a fumble, as he deflected three passes and intercepted another for a 34-yard touchdown return. As a senior he moved from weak side linebacker to middle linebacker and enjoyed an all-SEC and all-America season.

PROJECTED AS: His size likely makes him a middle linebacker in a 4-3 or an interior linebacker in a 3-4. His experience as a weak side defender is intriguing, though, and teams like his versatility.

ARE THE SAINTS INTERESTED: They will host Mayo at their practice facility soon. They've given the same treatment to Keith Rivers, so the Saints could be targeting either player.

DRAFT VALUE: A first-round pick, though mock drafts vary as to where. He's gone as high as the Top 10 and as low as the bottom five selections. He is, however, clearly the No. 2 linebacker off the board in this draft.

SCOUT.COM'S TOM MARINO'S ANALYSIS: He's young and he has a ways to go in terms of strength and keeping his pads down (gets high). I loved his ability to both meet and defeat pressure inside. Smart player with very good instincts. Runs well and showed excellent playing range. Highly productive, although he needs more tackle strength. Very good zone drops and awareness. He needs some work in man. Not near his full playing potential.

WHAT OTHER SERVICES ARE SAYING:

(In comparing Mayo to Randall Godfrey — "During his prime, Godfrey's ability to play on the outside or inside proved invaluable. While Mayo proved that he has the field smarts to handle middle linebacker, he might lack the bulk to do so at the next level, unless the team has big defensive tackles to absorb the blocks and protect him. With his range and closing speed, he could be a better fit on the weak side, whether aligned outside in a 4-3 or inside in a 3-4. He could be a perfect fit to team up with David Harris in New York's 3-4 defense. Still, with his history of injury problems, one has to wonder if he can survive a full season at the next level." — NFLDraftscout.com

"Mayo, a junior, could have improved his draft stock a bit if he had returned to school but made a solid choice to enter the '08 draft. He isn't the huge thumper some NFL coaches prefer at middle/inside linebacker, but he packs great strength for his size. Mayo should be productive in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. Additionally, he will be a great special teams coverage man until he develops into a defensive starter." — Sportingnews.com War Room.

MATTHEW POSTINS' BOTTOM LINE: There is clearly a drop between Mayo and the No. 1 inside linebacker in this draft, Keith Rivers. That may have more to do with the fact that Mayo is a year behind Rivers developmentally as a player. Scouts are going to worry about his injury situation, too, as he missed the tail end of last year with a knee injury. Presumably he's received a clean bill of health. If both players are at No. 10, I like Rivers better, personally. But Mayo's versatility and deceptive speed would be an asset to most defenses. It sounds to me, however, like he might be a better fit in a 3-4 defense and that taking him in the Top 10 might be a bit of a reach for a team like the Saints.


You can read more of Matthew Postins' coverage of the New Orleans Saints at saintsinsider.com.


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