Physical specimen. Athletic freak. Rare size/speed combination. Are there any other good qualities I'm missing with San Francisco 49ers safety Taylor Mays?
At 6'2'' 230 pounds, some believed Mays had the talent and potential to become as great as the late Sean Taylor following his junior year at USC.
He decided to return his senior year and struggled mightily, revealing his flaws in coverage. His stiffness became a major problem, and he was caught flat-footed numerous of plays. Though he was known as a big hitter, Mays would over-pursue, looking for the big hit far too often.
The 'Niners solely drafted Mays on his physical attributes, knowing he needed major refinements to become a starting safety.
Mays had a decent rookie year with 31 solo tackles and a forced fumble, but it was clear Mays had not changed his ways that plagued him his senior year.
The 49ers seem to have given up on Mays this training camp. Reportedly, the GM emailed 31 other teams explaining that Mays was on the trading block.
When analyzing the 2010 draft, I never thought Mays could stay at safety. He just did not have the necessary skills to stick as a ball hawk in the secondary. In fact, I thought the Eagles should have drafted him, at the right round, as a linebacker.
Mays has elite speed and would fit the theme of undersized linebackers here in Philadelphia. Currently the Eagles have Moise Fokou at weakside linebacker, who is a solid run stopper, but has looked nothing more than a backup linebacker. I don't think Mays would or could start right away, but the Eagles can use him to cover tight ends instead of slot receivers, something he had to do playing safety.
An athletic specimen like Mays could fit in the aggressive style defense Juan Castillo is going to run. Mays would not have to deal with the quickness of the slot receiver and could shutdown any athletic tight ends he faces. Because of the lack of fluid hips, Mays could not turn with the slot receiver.
The weakside linebacker in Castillo's scheme is expected to not have as many assignments as the other two linebacker positions, so it will allow Mays to play free, which will put less pressure on him and would lead to more big plays.
Mays would be a great blitzer off the edge, as his size and speed would allow him to get to the quarterback in a split second.
Mays is only expected to cost a late pick, so why not? The Eagles have 10 picks next year, so a sixth-round pick would be a bargain for a player who still has immense potential.