Taylor Mays

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May 122012




6-3 230

40 time: 4.31

Draft board overall prospect rank: #35

Draft board safety rank: #3

Overall rank: 82* 

3/2/10: First he came out and ran an unofficial 4.24, tying Chris Johnson’s record and making Al Davis rise from his grave a few months early. However, officially he was listed at 4.41. Now, thanks to some work with modern technology, comparing Mays’ run side by side with other low 4.3 high 4.2 runs, it’s apparent that both times were wrong and Mays really did run somewhere around a 4.31 (ish?). This is good, but this was exactly what we were expecting from him.

1/30/10: He looked alright against the pass in this game and actually had a nice interception, which is good because one of the big knocks against him is he doesn’t make enough plays on the ball in the air. However, after a dismal week in practice, I can only categorize his entire Senior Bowl week as neutral. I still think he’ll go in the first round.

1/27/10: He has only backed up what we’ve seen from him this year. He can’t cover anyone. He doesn’t play the air in the ball and he doesn’t wrap up his tackles. Some have said he may have to move to linebacker at the next level. 

1/23/10: Would have been a lock to go #7 to the Raiders last year, assuming his 6-3 230 4.3 measurables lived up to their expectations at the combine, but returned to school and that may have been a mistake. He was really exposed in coverage this year and will need Al Davis bailing him out to go in the top 15, though I think he stays in the first round. National media has come down on Mays this year, but not enough. He plays way too out of control and doesn’t wrap up tackles well and his coverage skills are very poor. Unless he gets some good coaching, not out of the question, his upside may be as a Roy Williams type safety or a cover 2 linebacker. His potential though is that of a bigger Troy Polamalu though.

Update (11/2/09): Unless he learns to play the ball or defend guys man on man he may be Roy Williams 2.0.     

5/23/09: Taylor Mays is an interesting and rare prospect. He’s an athletic freak of nature, which means he’ll probably be a Raider. He is 6-3 and change, 230 pounds, but runs a 40 in the 4.3s. He hits like a ton a bricks, sometimes even a little too hard, just ask Penn State wide receiver Jordan Norwood, who was knocked out of the Rose Bowl when Mays laid him out. He plays with a mean streak and loves to put on the big hit, maybe sometimes even so much that he forgets to wrap up a ball carrier. However, for that athleticism, he should be playing wide receiver or tight end. But, he isn’t. He has horrible ball skills. He doesn’t intercept many passes. He has horrible hands. He isn’t going to break up a lot of passes and struggles with the fundamentals of man-to-man coverage, even though he has great recovery speed, which is why he isn’t a cornerback. He might be better off as a run stopping safety or a safety in a zone coverage scheme. You can definitely put him up in the box and he’ll essentially be another linebacker. He may end up playing linebacker in the NFL, as an extremely fast outside linebacker, but he doesn’t offer a ton in pass rush. He is too small to play middle linebacker. He’s essentially a man without a position unless he improves in coverage or pass rush or bulks up or finds a team with a perfect scheme. Still, his freakish athleticism will get him drafted in the top 10, which is extremely rare for a safety. His 40 time could drop into the 4.2s as he is supposedly faster than anyone on the USC team, including running back Joe McKnight, who could be a first round pick based almost purely on his speed. That kind of 40 would be amazing for someone of his size. You can’t pass on someone that big with that kind of speed even if he is a project.

NFL Comparison: Roy Williams

*=for a breakdown of what this rating means, click here



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