2010 NFL Draft: Why Taylor Mays to the Oakland Raiders Makes Sense

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IMarch 4, 2010

TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 7:  Taylor Mays #2 of the USC Trojans listens to music as he looks in the stands before the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils on November 7, 2009 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.  USC won 14-9.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
Jeff Golden/Getty Images

I've always wondered why so much stock is put into 40-yard dash times.

We hear it all the time: "Speed kills."

It's obvious that a player needs to have a lot of quickness and speed to compete in the NFL.

Without pointing fingers (although I'm staring directly at Al Davis), some teams put more stock in the 40 than in college film.

It's almost as if any track athlete could step onto the field at the NFL Combine in shorts, having never played a snap of football, run one of the best 40-yard dash times at the combine, and end up getting drafted in the third round.

Taylor Mays is no track athlete, but it’s safe to say his 4.43-second 40-yard dash, one of the 10 fastest at this year's Combine, as well as his 25 bench reps of 225 pounds, will get him more than his share of attention on draft day.

Most say that the Scouting Combine doesn't drastically change many teams' draft boards. One team that can call itself an exception to the norm, though, is the Oakland Raiders.

For that reason, I believe the Raiders may end up taking Mays with the eighth overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.

From a needs and value standpoint, it doesn't make sense at all that Oakland should pick Mays; there are much bigger needs that can be filled in much better ways at selection No. 8. There’s a black hole (pun intended) on both the offensive and defensive lines.

It makes sense that Mays would be drafted by Oakland, though, because it's a typical Al Davis pick. We all know that Davis values speed over need at just about every turn; with a recent first-round top-10 draft history that includes JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey, this year figures to be no different.

Those who don't learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. Those who choose to ignore their mistakes, though, march blindly into their own demise.

It doesn’t matter that Mays is caught out of position too often in coverage, or that he’s questionable against the run. He ran the fastest 40 at his position; that’s all that really matters.

The sad part is that his sometimes questionable football instincts will fall to the wayside as teams begin to gush at the thought of what can be done with the physical phenom.

If Mays goes on to be one of the top players at his position over the next few years, then I stand corrected.

Either way, it just makes sense that the Raiders would reach for the athletic freak. Though the Raiders have much more dire needs, Al Davis only knows the need for speed.