By Pat O'Rourke
Pro Football Talk has released its second leg of the NFL’s top 100 players, listing players 51-75. Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo and guard Logan Mankins came in at 65 and 68, respectively.
Mayo, a linebacker entering his sixth season, has been one of the most productive pieces of the Patriots defense since being drafted tenth overall in the 2008 draft. In 75 career games, Mayo has 653 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and was a first-team All-Pro in 2010 after leading the league in tackles (175).
The 27-year-old is coming off a 2012 season where he racked up 147 tackles and set career-highs with sacks (3.0) and forced fumbles (4). He was named to his second career Pro Bowl and started all 16 games for the third time of his career.
Mankins, a left guard entering his ninthseason, is coming off his third consecutive All-Pro season and fourth consecutive Pro Bowl season. A former first-round pick, the 31-year old Mankins is the leader of one of the top offensive lines in the NFL. Injuries and a 2010 holdout have limited him to 34 games over the last three seasons after starting 80 straight games to open his career.
Despite the missed time, Mankins remains one of the best offensive linemen in football, and his 6-year, $51-million contract the second-richest per-year deal among NFL offensive linemen, trailing only Carl Nicks of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who signed a 5-year, $47.5-million deal in the March 2012.