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Scouting The Draft: Taylor Mays, S, USC

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I wasn't planning on looking at Taylor Mays today yet, but after reading some comments in the Graham report it got me thinking about Mays, and so I started looking at some film on him early, and my opinion on him hasn't really wavered. He has a few good attributes with a lot more questions. I agree that they can be ironed out, I just don't think we need to be the ones who do it. We will look at whether we think Kerry Rhodes will be here next year, and obviously the position of the team dramatically shifts if he is not here, but at the same time, I still don't think that selecting Mays will be the intelligent choice for a team two years removed from a draft bust. One that had great physical attributes but less than impressive football instincts. He came with warning signs and was very much a risk/reward type selection, and that's exactly how I see Mays.

Coming into this week I was very open to Mays, I wasn't impressed with him when I watched USC games, but everyone seemed to be high on him, and I thought that there must be something to him. Perhaps the step back the USC defence took this year giving over 200 yards a game through the air took something away from the individual play of Mays. However watching individual drills, he just didn't look like a first round talent, the only thing that really separated him from 3rd/4th round safeties was his size and speed, but those are useless when you don't use them.

Sports Illustrated reported on Taylor Mays week of practise at the Senior Bowl:

Most Disappointing Player in Mobile

Taylor Mays/S/USC: For Mays the week turned into a potpourri of skills he's likely to struggle with in the NFL; he'll struggle handling man-to-man coverage assignments and struggle making plays sideline-to-sideline as a true NFL centerfielder. Mays is still a legitimate prospect for the next level but the limitations he displayed this week will reduce the number of teams wanting to acquire him in April.

Career State

2006- 13 games, 62 tackles, 3 PBU, 3 INT, 0 Sacks, 0 Forced Fumbles

2007- 13 games, 65 tackles, 6 PBU, 1 INT, 0 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble

2008- 13 games, 53 tackles, 9 PBU, 0 INT, 0 Sacks, 0 Forced Fumble

2009- 12 games, 96 tackles, 3 PBU, 1 INT, 0 Sacks, 0 Forced Fumble

Career Achievements & Awards

  • 3× First-team All-American (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • 1× Second-team All-American (2006)
  • 2× First-Team All-Pac-10 (2008, 2009)

More after the Jump

What does Taylor Mays do well?

With Taylor Mays, it's all about the size and the speed, rumoured to be able to run the 40 in close to 4.2 flat he displays lightning speed. He has Adrian Wilson type size, standing at 6'3, 230lb's he is a man mountain roaming the field. He can play up at the line and stuff the runner, very physical player who will put his head into you and put you on your back. He has excellent leaping ability, and will showcase this on jump balls in the end zone. Has played against very tough competition in college, has an excellent initial burst, and can run with anyone in coverage. Has fluid hips, and changes directions on a pin-point.

What does Taylor Mays need to improve on?

He hits hard but he sometimes leads with the shoulder where he should be wrapping up the tackler and bringing him down, can give up some extra yards after the catch. His coverage skills are very suspect and his angles to the ball are sometimes described as absolutely terrible. His recognition is suspect, and he is not a play maker. His work on the ball should be more for a guy with his range. He has the lightning speed but when his angles are as bad to the ball, he will struggle to utilise it as well as he should be able to. His man coverage is below par for a first round talent. He preoccupies himself with the big hit, can over pursue and often  plays too quickly. has very average hands, and will require a lot of coaching if he wants to make an Adrian Wilson type impact. Not a big game player, has 11 tackles and not much else in four bowl games with USC.



Check the routes to the ball he takes, especially on the 2nd BC touchdown. Number 2 will often come into screen squared on space instead of the ball carrier. Also can see moments where he tries to use his shoulder and should just wrap the tackler up.

He can be coached, and I will be happy to admit I was wrong, I just think he needs too much coaching for a guy coming out of a pro college like USC with 4 years experience. One of the few players I would truly be devastated with if we decided to take him. Kerry Rhodes is much better and in my personal opinion, always will be better.


Again check the routes to the ball he takes and some of the hits he goes for that gives up 3-4 extra yards when receivers spin from the shoulders


Gang Green Nation, Other Scouting Reports

Scouting The Draft: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan

Scouting The Draft: Damian Williams, WR, USC

Scouting The Draft: Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State

Prospect Watch: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida

Prospect Watch, Arthur Jones, DE, Syracuse