NFL Draft Spotlight: Taylor Mays, S, USC

by Cory J. Bonini on April 8, 2010 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


Taylor Mays, the All-American free safety from Southern California, leaves as a senior after four productive years at a major football university. He experienced a dramatic spike in tackling numbers in 2009, finishing the year with 88 total stops - 35 more than the season before.

Strengths

  • Mays is as explosive of a hitter as they come and doesn't shy from contact.
  • Speed: official 4.43 40-yard dash time; unofficially 4.24 on first run
  • Athleticism: rare package of size and speed
  • Strong against the run
  • Elite size: 6-foot-3, 230 pounds
  • Impressive recovery speed
  • Intimidating over the middle
  • Football smarts - reads and reacts quickly
  • Durable and consistent

Weaknesses

  • Constantly looks for the big hit and fails to wrap up
  • Lack of ball skills with only four career interceptions in four seasons
  • Takes poor angles in coverage
  • Sometimes reckless - often overly aggressive
  • Sporadically out of position

Expected draft placement

We don't expect Mays to play free safety in the NFL due to his lack of ball skills and range. Some people have whispered "linebacker" - don't hold your breath. Mays is a strong safety in the NFL, and because of his speed-size combination, someone will take a chance on him earlier than they should. It's unlikely Mays falls out of the first round, even though he may have a rough transition to the NFL. Think NFL veteran safety Roy L. Williams and you have a great comparison to the physically imposing Mays.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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