NFL New England Patriots

5 Players That Can Help New England Patriots Replace Jerod Mayo

1 of 6

5 Players That Can Help Replace Jerod Mayo

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The news could be not worse on the status of New England Patriots inside linebacker Jerod Mayo. It appears that Mayo has a torn pectoral and is likely out for the rest of the season. There are so many things that Mayo does on the field, making this a tough injury for defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to cope with.

Mayo really sticks out in run defense. He is one of the better inside linebackers in the game when it comes to getting upfield and stuffing an opposing running back. Not only that, but Mayo's athleticism gives him nice sideline-to-sideline range, making it easier for Mayo to chase down anybody with the ball.

And he's not just your traditional two-down run stuffer. Mayo also has the athletic ability to drop into coverage whenever needed. He is often seen dropping back against slot receivers and tight ends. It's definitely not his best attribute, but Mayo is typically not burned for too many big plays.

Last but not least, Mayo can serve as an extra pass rusher. Patricia does not usually feature Mayo in this role, but when he does, Mayo is effective. The inside linebacker has had at least one sack in every season since except for his rookie year. At this point, Mayo even had one-and-a-half sacks through six games.

We cannot forget the intangibles that Mayo brings to the table. He is the playcaller for the defense, making sure that everybody is in the right place. Those kinds of intangibles and leadership qualities cannot be replaced.

However, there are players that can combine to replace Mayo's production on the field. Let's take a look at five of them.

2 of 6

5. Jamie Collins, DE/OLB

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Collins can cover the role of extra pass rusher from the linebacker position.

3 of 6

4. Rob Ninkovich, DE/OLB

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Ninkovich could cover the pass rushing role like Collins, but he could also drop back into coverage like he did when Patricia ran a 3-4 defense.

4 of 6

3. Logan Ryan, CB

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

This may not seem like it makes sense, but it does. Instead of using a nickel defense, which features three cornerbacks, Patricia can run more dime defenses featuring four cornerbacks. That way, Patricia would only need one linebacker on the field at a time. The fourth cornerback on the depth chart happens to be Ryan.

5 of 6

2. Steve Gregory, SS

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Gregory could be featured as a linebacker if Patricia decides to go with more three-safety looks. It would suit Gregory well because he likes defending the run.

6 of 6

1. Brandon Spikes, ILB

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Spikes is the obvious candidate to replace Mayo. He would fill the hole next to Dont'a Hightower in Patricia's nickel defense.