Negatives make USC's Mays a risky pick

Posted Jan. 29, 2010 @ 10:58 a.m.
Posted By Nolan Nawrocki

FS Taylor Mays
USC senior
Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 236 | 40-time: 4.45 (estimated)

Upside: Looks every bit the part with a chiseled frame that could pass for Superman — has an imposing physical presence with rare size, outstanding musculature and very little body fat. Excellent timed speed and range. Very good leaping ability. Has the speed to carry tight ends down the field. Delivers some knockout shots when he has a clear lane. Rare measurables — freakish height-weight-speed ratio.

Downside: Takes too much time to read and process what he sees — average instincts and anticipation. Questionable downfield ball skills — too often is in position to make plays on the ball and plays the man instead. Takes poor angles. A bit leggy and straight-linish — loses some quickness in transition and rounds out of some breaks. Not a face-up tackler and struggles in space. Very marginal production on the ball for a four-year starter. Lacks the toughness desired to transition to linebacker.

The way we see it: A rare physical specimen with explosive striking ability, Mays is perhaps the most physically and athletically gifted safety to emerge from the college ranks, but he misses too many tackles, misplays too many balls and misdiagnoses too many plays for a team to feel comfortable selecting him in the top 15.


Watch for multiple postings each day this week from the Senior Bowl, including blogs and our prospect of the day.


PFW has launched its brand-new NFL Draft Newsletter series, with the second issue now ready for mailing and a third issue focusing on underclassmen to be published in the next few weeks. Produced by PFW's player personnel department under the direction of Nolan Nawrocki, the series consists of four information-packed issues. For more info or to subscribe — click here for PDF e-pub or here for print format. You can also find details about other draft-related publications in the PFW store.