For the fourth straight year, Jerod Mayo is viewed as one of the NFL’s hottest head-coaching candidates.

The Patriots linebackers coach and de facto co-defensive coordinator once again earned a spot on NFL Media’s annual young head coach watchlist, which was released Wednesday.

Tom Pelissero compiles the list each year “based on dozens of recent conversations with NFL executives, coaches and others close to the search process.” Here was Mayo’s write-up:

“An eight-year NFL linebacker who grew up running Bill Belichick’s defense, Mayo is still in just his fifth year of coaching, but his pedigree and makeup are intriguing. He’s already had three head coaching interviews and turned down another with the Panthers last January, opting to stay with New England on a new contract that the Patriots announced in a rare press release. He is highly regarded by Pats owner Robert Kraft and viewed by many as Belichick’s logical successor. But Mayo feels he’s ready to be a head coach anywhere.”

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Belichick’s job security is a hot topic with New England sitting at 2-8, and Kraft said last offseason that he hoped Mayo one day would be the Patriots’ head coach. If Belichick is let go after the season, the former linebacker would be at the top of the list of potential replacements.

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Two other Patriots assistants were recognized as “NFL coaches to watch in future years”: defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington and wide receivers coach Ross Douglas.

Covington interviewed for defensive coordinator jobs with the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Chargers last winter and is viewed as a rising star in the industry. He and Douglas both appeared on the same list last year.

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The 2024 edition also featured more than a half-dozen other assistants who either coached or played for the Patriots. Bubba Ventrone, Shane Waldron and Mike Kafka all were mentioned as “(head-coaching) candidates for the coming cycle,” while Nick Caley, Bo Hardegree, Greg Lewis and Zac Robinson received nods as possible future head coaches.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images