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Former Colleagues Sing Drayton’s Praises

“I think these guys are going to be a top-five special teams unit,” Denver Broncos special teams coordinator Tom McMahon said.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers have not finished in the top 10 in Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings since 2007.

Under new Packers special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton, Green Bay might do better than that.

“I think these guys are going to be a top-five special teams unit,” Denver Broncos special teams coordinator Tom McMahon said.

McMahon was the coordinator in Indianapolis from 2013 through 2017. In 2016 and 2017, Drayton was his assistant. The Colts finished eighth in Gosselin’s rankings in 2016 and ninth in 2017.

“I think it’s deserved and earned,” McMahon said. “I think he’s going to excel. I think the core, the specialists, the building, I think they found themselves a special guy.”

Drayton played his college ball at The Citadel. In 2002, he was joined on The Citadel coaching staff by Joe Whitt, a former Packers assistant coach and the new secondary coach/defensive passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. In 2007, McMahon got his first NFL job as assistant special teams coach with the Atlanta Falcons. Whitt, an assistant defensive backs coach with the Falcons at the time, was instrumental in getting Drayton aboard as a coaching intern.

“Ever since that day, I just thought he was a special coach,” McMahon said. “He’s one of those guys that can teach. What he says to you, you can actually see it. In my opinion, that’s what really turned me onto him. And then who he is as a man, I just knew he was going to be a future star.”

With McMahon taking over the Colts’ special teams in 2013 and Drayton coaching at The Citadel, McMahon brought Drayton on as a summer intern in 2014 and 2015. When Brant Boyer, who was McMahon’s top assistant for those seasons, was hired as the Jets’ coordinator in 2016, there was an opening on their staffs.

“We basically fought over Maurice to see who could hire him as their assistant. I lucked out and got to spend two great years with him,” McMahon said.

Whitt also swears by Drayton and believes he’s got what it takes to fix the Packers’ longtime problems on special teams. Under Shawn Mennenga, Green Bay was No. 29 in Gosselin’s rankings this year and No. 26 last year.

“He’s a detailed coach. He’s going to take that special teams to a different level,” Whitt said. “You’ll see some detail that hasn’t been seen. He’s really good.”

Not only will Drayton bring some fresh ideas but McMahon and Whitt consider Drayton to be an excellent teacher. That’s important for any coach but especially so on special teams considering the number of moving parts and the lack of time provided in comparison to offense and defense.

“He can teach different learners, and he can reach them all at the same time because he’s very active in front of the room,” Whitt said. “He’s going to have a PowerPoint presentation, he’s going to add the video clips in, so he’s going to captivate all types of learners. Every minute of your meeting has to be detailed out. He’s a Citadel grad, so detail, that’s what he’s about.

“And then when he goes down the field, the way that he does his walk-throughs, he’s never going to do a drill that’s not going to relate back to the game. He’s just not doing drills for drills’ sake, like some coaches do. Every drill he does, you’re going to see that specific drill show up in a game.”