By TomE. Curran
FOXBORO - It will be fascinating to look back in a few years at the fortunes of the 2011 NFL Draft Class. They are all born under a bad sign. With a lockout marring their transition to the league and keeping them from getting the instruction and orientation, it won't be a surprise if the washout rate is high. How vital is the mentoring and structure a rookie gets? Jerod Mayo's been in the NFL for three seasons. He's been a Defensive Rookie of the Year and an All-Pro. Earlier this week at a predraft gathering at Skipjack's Patriot Place, Mayo explained the importance of having a full offseason after he was drafted. "I was fortunate to have that offseason with guys likeTedy Bruschiand Mike Vrabel," said Mayo. "I wouldnt trade that experience for the world. Those guys really took me under their wing and I became a sponge to learn as much as I could. It's helpful to have guys there who know the system and know how to be a professional (that can pass that knowledge on)."Mayo, talking to Mike Reiss at ESPNBoston.com, made an interesting comment about preparing during this work stoppage saying that, "each team against the lockout" is trying to ready itself despite not being able to use facilities. When I asked Mayo how he'd work with the incoming Patriots rookies - whoever they are - Mayo said, "Hopefully he's already working and he'll come into the league ready to go."You can catch moreMayo and a talkwithfellow Patriots Patrick Chung and Dane Fletcher on the QuickSlants Predraft Special airing Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Sportsnet New England.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at email@example.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran