Taylor Mays: Why He Doesn't Fit In Green Bay

Kyle PlumCorrespondent IApril 2, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24:  Taylor Mays #2 of the USC Trojans eyes the play against the Oregon State Beavers on October 24, 2009 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 42-36.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
Jeff Golden/Getty Images

There has been a recent push for the Packers to select Taylor Mays if he is still availible in the first round.  It is an exciting thought to have the "freakish" Mays in Green Bay's secondary.  He would likely be an upgrade over the often injured Atari Bigby.  So, why not draft him?

Taylor Mays is a terrific athlete.  He can run and jump better than the rest.  His height, weight, and combine numbers make him look like a top-tier prospect.  Mays is 6'3" 230 pounds, and ran a 4.43 forty at the combine. 

Unfortunately Mays did not bring that physical ability to his games on Saturdays, and it only gets tougher on Sundays.  He Posses great straight line speed, but is not a particularly fluid athlete.  He seems a big and awkward making cuts and back-peddling. 

Mays does have the ability to make plays in run defense.  He is known for his big hits, and often makes his presence felt. 

But being a safety entails solid pass coverage. Mays struggled through his senior season in coverage, only collecting one interception.  He seems to be a liability in coverage, or average at best. 

As a prospect Taylor Mays is easily compared to Roy Williams, a former first round pick of the Dallas Cowboys.  Williams was 220 pounds and ran a 4.5 forty.  He struggled in coverage during college, but the Cowboys drafted him on potential eighth overall.  Williams went on to have a solid career for the Cowboys, but was always a liability in coverage and never lived up to his top ten billing.   

If Mays lives up to the comparison, he really is not a good fit in Green Bay.  The Packers already have a physical safety who struggles in coverage.  Atari Bigby is already a strong force against the run, so if he were to be upgraded it would be improved coverage.  The Packers don't need improved run defense.  They led the NFL in run defense last season.  Were offenses were able to expose them was in the air.  When the Packer's defense struggled it was against teams with three or more wide receivers.  Green Bay did not have a solid Strong Safety in coverage, especially when Bigby was hurt, to help the corners out.  

Mays is a terrific athlete who will likely have a solid career, but he will always be known as a run stopper.  Green Bay needs a fluid athlete at Strong safety, even if run stopping ability must be sacrificed. 

There are not many athletic Strong Safeties available in the draft.  To fill the Safety need Green  Bay will have to look at the larger Free Safeties who could switch over and play as a Strong Safety. 

Nate Allan from South Florida is a strong possibility in the second round.  He is a pretty large Free Safety and plays pretty Physical.  He is nearly 6'1" and weighs 205 pounds.  He would likely have to put on a few pounds and has the frame to do it.  I see the Nate Allan type Strong Safety becoming more the norm, especially as the NFL continues to become more of a passing league. 


Green Bay has many needs to address and can't afford to use their first selection on a "luxury" pick.  Although Mays would be nice the Packers have bigger needs to attend to, and can find better fits in the second round.