Oh its not just me.
Mays has great size, straight-line speed, and he can lay the wood. However, this is really all he can do. He doesn't make plays in coverage. He has zero ball skills; he takes terrible angles to the football; and he possesses poor instincts. I think he can start at strong safety, but I think he will be an average starter in the NFL.
Taylor Mays is nothing more than an above-average safety with a world of talent, playing for an upper-middle class program,
But something has been lost. He looks a step slower, fails to deliver the timely blows, and even struggles to make the big hit when the opportunity arrives.
Tough season bruises Taylor Mays' NFL draft position
The two-time All-American safety was seen as a possible top-five pick in 2009. But after a season that fell below USC's standards and earned him criticism, scouts say his stock has dropped a little.
NFL scouts cite a lack of interceptions. They question his hands, tackling and playmaking skills.
Here's what ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said about safety Taylor Mays. ``We've seen Mays get caught out of position far too often
Plays with high intensity, but is not much of a playmaker; did not intercept one pass in 2008, and only has four in his career ... Drops passes when in position to make plays; very poor ball skills (why he isn't a receiver being 6'3) ... Occasionally takes bad angles to the football relying on pure speed more than proper technique.
Summary: Mays is the prototype when you look at him in terms of being a rare physical specimen, but I will not give him an elite/5-star grade because he is not the playmaker such as former prospects Ed Reed, Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry. Best fit is at free safety because of his amazing range. Could end up being over-drafted based on measurables.
Game Analysis: vs cal Mays started the game off poorly whiffing on an easy tackle on a pass completion that allowed the WR to pick up extra yardage. He actually had a few missed tackles that were easy plays to make but he lost focus.
vs Notre DameGot scored on by Golden Tate on a deep bomb because he went for the hit instead of playing the ball/ he was too late getting to Tate on Tate’s 2nd TD and was rocked by Tate (who stayed up while Mays went down)
vs ohio st he took a TERRIBLE angle in coverage and allowed Pryor to find a wide open WR to take the ball down inside the 5 yard line. He usually is a lot better in coverage but he needs to stop always going for the big hit because it is going to backfire on him a lot.
- Getting exposed in coverage due to tight hips and lack of ball skills/ slightly falling on draft boards IMO
Disappears through periods of the game. With that build and his football numbers that USC put out in the spring (i.e. 4.25 40 yard dash), Mays is not much of a playmaker. Has a Sean Taylor Esq. physique, but not nearly as rangy, nor as physically dominant at the point of attack. Takes bad angles which leads to a lot of garbage yards that could be avoided with the proper pursuit. Tends to come off a bit tight hipped. At time Mays is seemingly playing off sheer athletic ability, as opposed to football instincts and talent.
Overall: Overall Mays appears to have the potential to be a difference maker in an NFL secondary. Though he has yet to produce in terms of playmaking on the field during his tenure manning that USC secondary (albeit his JR year), with the proper coaching and the desire, Mays could see plenty of accolades. That is if his production can FINALLY match his athleticism.
Mays looks completely out of sorts at time, especially in pass coverage, and alone in space. He takes poor angles to the ball, gets flipped in coverage and shows sloppy technique. His ball skills are well below average and hasn't really shown that he has much room for growth at the next level. In other words he may have tapped out his potential.
: Some team is going to fall in love with Mays triangle numbers and draft him early. How early will depend on how soon the Oakland Raiders are drafting. Mays is a pure SS prospect, run support only, meaning a two down defensive back. That's not first round pick to me, but as I said Skeletor will see this kid run in shorts, and trade up to no.1 just to be sure they get him. In all seriousness, the shortcomings in his game should push him down but i doubt he falls out of the first round. May need to work out as a linebacker, if he wants to improve his status.
Final Analysis: I went into the season expecting big growth and development from Mays in terms of his sloppy technique in coverage, poor tackling, and just overall mediocre skill set outside of run support But it hasn't happened. And I don't know if it will happen. Seems that Mays is what he is. And that may mean he has to move to linebacker where his shortcomings in coverage would be minimized. But in order to do that he's going to have to learn to take much better angles, and become a much better form tackler.
Reminds me of: Roy Williams, SS Cincinnati- These two guys are so alike it's scary. Williams carved out a nice career for himself, which always having it hang around his neck that he couldn't cover. The same will hold true for Mays. In fact I'd cut to the chase while he's young and make him a weakside linebacker right off the bat, before he gives up too many long touchdown passes.
Takes false steps in coverage and poor angles
Zero ball skills
Not much of a playmaker
Poor tackling technique; throws body around without using arms/hands to wrap up
Hasn't improved his weaknesses going back to sophomore season
Occasionally not in position
Plays out of control
More of an athlete than a football player
Summary: Mays isn't a free safety at the next level; no chance he pans out there because he is horrible in coverage and has zero ball skills. Mays idea of playing football is running and throwing his body around, which is why I am giving him the nickname “The Trojan Torpedo.” I think Mays can start at strong safety for some team, but he will be pretty average. Mays is the Vernon Gholston of safety prospects. Sure he has great measurables, but so did Gholston. I personally wouldn't draft Mays in the top 40 picks, but his draft range is all over the board. He could go top five to a team like Oakland or he could fall to the lower part of the first round.
Player Comparison: Roy L. Williams. It's like someone cloned Roy Williams; Mays and Williams are the EXACT same player. Mays will struggle greatly in coverage at the next level, but he hits hard and is good in run support. Buyer beware.
I have been saying this for awhile now and the more new reports that come out the more you wil see negative reviews. Just watch him in the bowl game and you will see. If he gets drafted in the first it will be on Potential only. He at best is the 3rd best S and thats a reach IMO.