For a while, I have been a huge fan of Kerry Rhodes. I loved the guy, and I was screaming the loudest when he was snubbed twice for pro bowls. Now though, it seems like he got his money, and for some reason, he just isn't an impact player anymore on defense. He talks and talks and talks and for the last 30 games or so, just hasn't backed it up at all. He went from stud, to mehh, to okay, now it's getting to a point where the team is suffering while he is on the field. So, what to do? Well, now that he has been benched, at least for now, it seems like an appropriate time to bring up this situation, because there is a guy in the upcoming draft that I think would be awesome for the Jets, and Rex Ryans attack defense.
Enter Taylor Mays, free safety out of USC. This guy is 6'3, 230, hits like a mack truck defending the pass. He does need to improve on tackling guys in space, but that can be worked on, he is a tremendous athlete with great strength, so he can improve, but right now he is a drag you down type tackler when defending the run. The strength of his game is his pass coverage, he has great awareness and unbelievable sideline to sideline range. He can really fly, running a 4.40 40 yard dash. Been clocked at 4.28. Very good ball skills and an almost unlimited ceiling. This guy looks like he can be a real stud in the NFL, and fit a role perfectly.
On the plus side for us, USC's defense hasn't been nearly as dominant this year as last, not bringing as much publicity on themselves, and in turn, Mays. He's a top 15 pick right now, maybe top 10, but could move up even more once the combine gets here because the guy is an athletic freak.
Really, the guys only weakness is his one on one tackling in the open field. Make no mistake though, the guy is a beast roaming in centerfield and he will punish a wide receiver, using his great closing speed and coverage awareness. His open field tackling is a matter of technique, and getting more reps. Under a guy like Rex Ryan, that would be resolved fast.
Here's a couple clips of Taylor Mays.....
As you can see in these clips, in almost all of those big hits and tackles, he is getting them because of his great instincts and raw power and speed. He doesn't wrap up well, his technique is flawed, and he makes some mistakes when it comes to tackling, but he can get away with it while he improves because of his great football IQ and superior athleticism.