2010 NFL Draft: Is Taylor Mays a Top-10 Pick?

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IApril 10, 2010

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 14:  Safety Taylor Mays #2 ofthe USC Trojans breaks up a pass in the end zone on the final play of the first half aganst the Stanford Cardinal on November 14, 2009 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  Stanford won 55-21.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Taylor Mays is one of those players who sparks debate.

Mays, at 6’3”, 230 pounds, is projected as a first-round draft pick, but a lot of mocks have him going later in the round.

Mays made the “mistake” of not going into the draft last year and had several flaws exposed this last year at USC, as far as pass coverage goes.

The Trojans defense got burned frequently last year, and Mays was singled out for not being the kind of playmaker he had been his junior year.

Then Mays went out and impressed all the scouts at the Combine by running an official 4.43 40-yard dash; unofficially, he was clocked at 4.24 seconds.

The combination of impressive physical attributes and game film have resulted in Mays being projected anywhere from a top-10 pick to going as late as the second round.

If Mays were to go in the top 10, there are three teams out there who might take the safety out of USC.



Seattle Seahawks

This is a long shot since the Seahawks have two picks in the first round. However, if Pete Carroll wants to take “his guy,” but doesn’t think he’ll last to No. 14, then Carroll may pull the trigger.

Don't doubt for a minute that Carroll won't reward at least two of his former players by drafting them, at least one of them early.

Why might Mays not last until No. 14?

Read on.


Cleveland Browns

The Browns need fresh blood on their secondary like no other position on that team.

Eric Berry would be the optimal pick at No. 7, but it’s a 50/50 shot at this point in the various mocks on whether or not Berry still is on the board at No. 7.

If the Browns front office decides they like Mays enough, they very well could use this pick on him. Team President Mike Holmgren indicated on Friday the team could draft someone completely unexpected.


Oakland Raiders

There is no team harder to predict in the draft than the Oakland Raiders. Owner Al Davis gets enamored with Workout Warriors and worships at the altar of good 40-yard dash times.

It’s not a stretch to mock Mays with the eighth pick in the draft.


Where Mays lands will be an interesting story to follow on draft day, almost as interesting as watching whether or not this incredibly gifted athlete can be molded into an elite safety in the NFL.