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 Post subject: Taylor Mays, SS, Southern California
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:18 pm 
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Taylor Mays - SS - USC
Height: 6'3
Weight: 231
40 Time: 4.45
Projected: 1st-2nd

Positives

- 4 year starter
- Athletic freak
- Speed and size combo that doesn't come around too often
- Very strong
- Delivers crushing hits
- Very quick and agile
- Has a good burst to the football
- Gains ground in coverage due to his speed
- At his best playing close to the line of scrimmage

Negatives

- Doesn't have much of a chance at FS
- Poor instincts
- Gets beat in coverage and relies on athleticism rather then recognition skills to make a play
- Awful tackling technique, always forces the big hit and misses many tackles
- Takes bad angles
- Doesn't make the big plays you would expect
- Doesn't play up to his timed speed

Overview

There is no doubt Taylor Mays is a very athletic player. He has the body of a LB, but the speed of a CB. However, as a NFL prospect he is quite disappointing. He relies to much on his athleticism to make a play. This will work in college but will not work in the NFL. He needs to be coached up a lot before he can make a big impact. He needs to work on reading plays, taking better angles and learning how to wrap up and make the sure tackle. He can have success close to the line of scrimmage as a SS "in-the-box" however, he will struggle in coverage. He may even have to make the move to LB. If he does, he will have to work on learning how to shed blocks and shoot gaps. Either way, Taylor Mays will need quite a bit of coaching in the NFL. Teams will find it hard to pass up on so much potential by the time the draft rolls around.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

SPEED: 4.5
TACKLING: 2.5
COVERAGE: 2.5
BALL SKILLS: 2.5
RANGE: 3.5

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 Post subject: Re: Taylor Mays, SS, Southern California
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:39 pm 
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TAYLOR MAYS
6-3/230
Southern California Senior
40: 4.43

PROS: Has excellent size and speed. Shows it with his range and potential to make plays all over the field. Is quick to come upfield and play the run and usually makes the stop. Has excellent closing burst on the ball and can deliver a big, highlight reel hit on a receiver over the middle. Shows ability to play deep centerfield, able to read the quarterback's eyes, and with his speed in a position to make a play on the ball.
CONS: Not instinctual and rarely seems to make the smart play. Tends to lower the shoulder for the highlight hit, rather than wrapping up and breaking down as a tackler. Will tackle too high, and can miss stops in the open field on occasion because of it. Takes poor angles to the ball and can get caught out of position at the point of attack. Not comfortable taking on blockers when working in the box, and tends to run around them. Lacks ideal awareness and instincts to consistent break on the pass when working in deep cover. Tends to play the receiver rather than the ball looking rather to hit receiver and break up the pass, which limits his turnovers.
OVERVIEW: Mays has a lot of tools, but also needs a lot of coaching. He's just not an instinctual player and for the most part got by at USC because of his superior athleticism, not because there appears to be a lot going on upstairs. Didn't make a ton of big plays during his college career. Started as a freshman, making him a four-year starter at free safety. Had 3 picks his first season, but only had 2 in the past three years. Led team with 96 tackles as a senior. Also had a total of 18 pass breakups his last three seasons with a career-high 9 as a junior. ONly forced 1 fumble his entire career, which is surprising considering his jarring hits. Had he come out a year ago, almost certainly would have been a first round pick because there was less tape to scrutinize and no Eric Berry to contrast him with.
NFL FORECAST: The key to Mays will be his interview, and really understanding how his mind and personality works. Because I believe he can be a competent starting strong safety in the NFL in the right situation. The situation may be Cincinnati, since he is a similar player to Roy Williams, and somehow Mike Zimmer has managed to get the most out of Roy Williams where he isn't a significant liability there as well as in his earlier years in Dallas. I think you can do the same with Mays, but I think in order to get the most out of his ability, you're going to have to ride him hard in both practice during the week. And then also have a fairly smart and disciplined veteran free safety that can baby-sit him on Sundays. And that's why the interview process is so important, because you need to discover whether he can take to hard coaching. Not everyone can, and Mays didn't get that at USC under Pete Carroll. So if you don't think he'll respond well to hard coaching, then there's no point really looking at him as a potential starter. If you can get him to start really focusing on the details and keep him in the film room, I see no reason why he can't be a good starter at the next level. Will he give up some plays, miss some tackles, etc.? Yeah, he'll never be consistent. But I think with time, effort, patience, and a lot of yelling, you can get him to a point where those mistakes aren't that common. The problem he may run into like Roy Williams did in Dallas is that he'll find a coach/scheme that he works well with, and then they change coaches/schemes, and then his play just goes down. Mays isn't for everybody, but I'm positive there are a few teams he could go to and be a pretty good NFL safety. Him moving to outside lienbacker is too much of a project in my eyes because he's not comfortable taking on blockers in the box. He could be developed and improved there, but he's going to need at least two or three years of sitting before he can start to make an impact. I think you can put him on the field right away at safety. He'll make some mistakes when you throw him to the wolves, but if he has the mental fortitude to stand up to having the crosshairs on him, I think he can begin to grow from it in his second and third seasons. If I was to make a comparison, he would be the equivalent of a quarterback with Ben Roethlisberger's size, but Michael Vick's skillset. And that is just too an intriguing combination to not want to work with it and see if you can fix all of his mental deficiencies to make the most of his physical assets.
ATL FORECAST: I wouldn't want Mays here in Atlanta, only because he isn't a better option than Moore. Sure, he has more potential with his size, range, and speed, but not by a huge degree. And he's not heady enough to make me think he'll be a better safety than DeCoud. And as a linebacker, I just don't see him competing early enough to think he'll make an impact. If he was a Falcon, he'd be one of those players that Falcon fans two and three years from now are complaining about how he isn't paying dividends, much like Jimmy Williams.
VALUE: His athletic potential makes him probably one of the 5 or 10 best athletes in the class, but he's just too raw and too inconsistent to take in Round 1. Instead, I would take him in the latter part of Round 2 for a team looking for an enforcer at strong safety.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

SPEED: 4.5
TACKLING: 3.5
COVERAGE: 3.0
BALL SKILLS: 2.0
RANGE: 4.0

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 Post subject: Re: Taylor Mays, SS, Southern California
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:48 am 
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Pros: Has an incredible combination of size, speed and overall athletic ability. He is almost big enough to be a linebacker and he runs as fast as a corner as far as straight line speed is concerned. He closes like a heat-seaking missile on ball carriers, especially when he is closing downhill to a player in front of him. He has a great range in coverage because of his great closing speed, and he can make up a lot of ground quickly because of it. He packs a serious punch as a hitter and can lay people out when he gets a chance.

Cons: He does not have good read and react skills. He struggles to read run at times and locates the ball-carrier slower than some of his teammates and doesn’t do a very good job of reading the QB’s eyes in coverage to make plays on the ball. He will regularly overpursue, especially in coverage, and as the last line of defense that can, and has, meant big plays for the opposing offense. He loves to lay the big hit, but he regularly misses tackles because he goes for the killing blow and bounces off the player. He doesn’t do a good job of breaking down in the open field to make a quality form tackle despite his terrific athletic ability and has pretty stiff hips to turn and run with receivers whether he is in man or zone coverage.

Overall: Mays is truly an impressive physical specimen, but as far as I am concerned he is a terrific athlete playing football, not a great football player with amazing athletic ability. His athletic ability is used as a crutch for his poor read and react skills, not as a complement to them. He just doesn’t play smart. He overpursues, misses tackles that a player of his alleged draft status should make and regularly plays the receiver instead of the ball when he is challenged downfield. He has the size and strength to support the run well and he plays well when going downhill towards the run, but he will be worthless trying to fill against the run if he doesn’t significantly improve his tackling. Some people are convinced that with film study and coaching he will improve his read and react skills to improve in coverage. I tend to disagree with those people, and I don’t think that slight improvement in read and react ability will have a great impact for him in coverage. Not to mention he still has serious tackling issues. I am more than willing to be proven wrong, but I think that Mays has bust written all over him. His ceiling is a solid in the box safety who supports the run well and intimidates receivers who come over the middle or in front of him. But he will never have more than a couple of interceptions in a season and he won’t be effective supporting the run until he improves his tackling. I wouldn’t touch him in the first two rounds of the draft, but he will get drafter earlier than that because of his amazing athletic ability. He could be a pretty big bust depending on when he is drafted, but if he is drafted later in the 2nd or in the 3rd round where I would start to consider him as a viable option then his potential to bust would drop. Again, his ceiling is a solid SS who supports the run and lays down big hits but has his struggles in coverage. His floor is just being another athletic freak who never puts it all together and busts completely.

Projection: Late 1st, early 2nd round: He could go earlier than this or he could go earlier. Mays is hard to project for me because his athletic ability could land him in the top 20-25, or he could slide a bit to the 2nd round because of his poor fundamentals.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

SPEED: 4.5
TACKLING: 2.5
COVERAGE: 2.5
BALL SKILLS: 2.5
RANGE: 4.0

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