"Wow!" That's the word being uttered by coaches and scouts league-wide after watching
"He is the real deal," said an AFC scout. "He is a sideline-to-sideline player with great instincts and a nasty demeanor. "
An NFC personnel director added, "He is a tough player. He has good instincts and is pretty explosive on contact. He is definitely one of the top rookies on the defensive side of the ball."
Mayo, drafted 10th overall out of Tennessee after leading the Southeastern Conference in tackles his junior season, was expected to quietly learn the nuances of the Patriots' defense while playing alongside Pro Bowl defenders
His production has been so outstanding that he has earned rare praise from his hard-nosed coach.
"Jerod has been pretty active all in all of the games,"
Adds Patriots defensive coordinator
Will that be enough for the only first-round linebacker drafted during the Belichick era to win defensive rookie of the year honors? Let's put it this way: It's his to lose.