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Taylor Mays: Why Teams Should Avoid Trading for the 49ers Safety at All Costs

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  Brandon Lloyd #84 of Denver Broncos catches the ball ahead of Taylor Mays #23 of San Francisco 49ers during the NFL International Series match between Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on October 31, 2010 in London, England. This is the fourth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2011

San Francisco 49ers safety Taylor Mays is on the trade block. Mays was a second-round pick last season, but the new coaching staff in San Francisco doesn't seem to value Mays' raw ability quite as much as the prior regime. That makes Mays expendable, if anybody's interested.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com provides a couple updates:

Quite a few San Francisco 49ers fans have asked where Taylor Mays fits in the team's plans. We might have our answer from ESPN's Adam Schefter. According to Schefter, the 49ers sent out an email to all teams declaring Mays as available for trade.

Mays would have remained in the team's plans to this point had Mike Singletary remained head coach. Singletary was invested in Mays. The team had Ronnie Lott reach out to Mays right away.

Mays made six starts in his rookie season, the most memorable of which came against the Atlanta Falcons when he recorded 11 tackles and scored a touchdown off a blocked punt.

He was often exposed in coverage though, and was going to need to gain a lot more experience before his great athleticism was translated into a good NFL safety. There is no denying the potential of Mays, it's just a matter of how long it will take him to put it all together.

At 6'3'', 230 pounds, Mays has great size for patrolling the secondary and is durable. He played in all 16 games in 2010 and missed just four games at USC while maintaining top physical form.

It is somewhat of a surprise that a rebuilding squad like San Francisco wouldn't just let Mays play safety for the entire season to see if he can show improvement, especially because they aren't going anywhere this season anyway.

By sending out an e-mail to the entire league making them aware of Mays' availability, it hurts his value. Since it leaked to the media, now every team knows the 49ers are just trying to dump Mays and will wait to see if they will release him instead of offering a pick.

It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out because even the 49ers would admit they haven't played their cards very well so far. Mays does have some value to a rebuilding franchise willing to give him playing time, but that's the only market for his services at this point.

In reality, most teams will probably just avoid Mays at all costs.

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