2010 NFL Draft Prospect
6' 3" 230 lbs
Strengths: Incredible range, plays with wreckless abandon, good hands, excellent leaping ability, incredible speed, durable, freakish athlete.
Weaknesses: Doesn't always wrap up, backpedal needs some refining, hips aren't very fluid, change of direction isn't where it should be, looks for the big hit to much, average in coverage.
Accolades- 2006 Pac-10 Co-freshman of the year, 2006 Sporting News second team All-American, 2007 sporting news first team All-American, 2008 AP first team All-American, 2008 first team all pac-10, 2008 NFL Draft Dog 2nd Team All American, 2008 Jim Thorpe Award finalist.
Freshman-62 tackles, 3 interceptions,
Sophomore- 65 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception
Junior-53 tackles, 9 passes defended
S Taylor Mays out of the University of Southern California is about as rare of a prospect as we have in this year's draft class. First of all he is the fastest player on the USC team. "Hes faster then me," admits sophomore RB Joe McKnight. "I wish i had it, whatever he has." At 6'3 230lbs. with a 4.32 electronically timed 40(Mays says he has been timed at a 4.25), a 41 inch vertical, 26 reps of 225, with 6 % body fat, you can't create much better of a player on Madden. Mays isn't just the prototypical safety, he's beyond that. With those measurables no other safety in the NFL today matches him. With that being said, his intangibles are what could make him great. Head coach Pete Carroll speaks about him like his son, being quoted as saying, "Taylor is doing the best job of anybody that's ever played for us in the years I've been here. He's all over the field, he's making impact plays, he's doing what a true free safety does." Mays also is known for being strict with his eating habits, sleeping habits, and being a student of the game. The little things are sometimes what matter most and Mays appears to be a once in a decade prospect.
Taylor hasn't put up big numbers by any means, but still was a AP first team All-American and team's just do not test USC deep. They know a ball hawk roams the deep half of the field and the stats speak for themselves. USC ranked #2 in the nation in total defense & #1 in the nation in scoring defense at just 9 points a game. Perhaps the most telling stat is USC's number 1 pass defense in the country which gave up 134 yards per game, next on the list? South Carolina at 159 yards per game.
Taylor right now projects as a top 15 pick without going through the NFL combine. After he blows away the scouts there(which is a safe assumption) Mays could go top 10, it isn't even that far fetched to say top 5 either. LaRon Landry went #6 in 2007 based largely what he did at the combine as well as his potential. A guy like Mays is so rare that someone like Head Coach in Seattle, Jim Mora Jr. a former secondary coach, would give an arm and a leg for this kid. Do you think Al Davis sitting at #7 wouldn't seriously consider this physical specimen? I'm not huge on measurables as I've said before, but this guy's are too incredible to overlook.
Mays has said he molds his game after the late Sean Taylor(R.I.P.) and when watching him on film, he plays with that same type of killer instinct and he really uses his body as a wrecking ball out there. Taylor Mays hurts people and strikes fear in opponents. He plays the game with the range of any free safety playing today. The knock on him is he doesn't wrap up all the time, instead looking for the big hit instead. To me that isn't a legitimate knock against this kid. Surround him with a sure tackler at strong safety, put him in the proper scheme, and you have a force for your defense. Not many teams will be able to pass on a kid that runs like Chris Johnson, has size like Adrian Wilson, and hits like Sean Taylor. He's a defensive coordinator's dream.
Surprisingly S Taylor Mays decided to stay in school for his senior year and should be a force in the 2010 NFL Draft, if he stays healthy and keeps his weight down. If he gains any more weight he might end up as a linebacker in the NFL.
By Brandon Thorn