By Kip Earlywine
40 time: 4.30
- Unbelievable combination of size and speed, especially for a DB
- His rare speed allows him to stack the box and retreat into coverage
- Has extreme athleticism
- Hard hitter
- Unusually long arms
- Takes good angles and closes in well in run support
- Extremely good upside
- Durable (which is notable given his kamikaze style)
- Misreads routes and can make mistakes in coverage that allow big plays
- Plays out of position sometimes
- Tends to go for the big hit, even when he shouldn't
- Very rarely faces the QB in coverage, lacks instincts, not a ball hawk
- Poor tackling technique, often fails to get head in front (aka: arm tackles)
- Overall game is sloppy and undisciplined
- Not a natural football player, definitely a project
The Seattle-born and Carroll coached Taylor Mays is an impressive physical specimen. He has top 5 pick measurables. Mays has monstrous size for a defensive back, and has been rumored to be capable of a sub 4.3 time. But like Jason Pierre-Paul, Mays is more athlete than football player. Whoever drafts Mays is going to be taking a big risk, because he has some serious holes in his game that weren't fixed from years in an extremely well coached college program.
Still, Mays could very well be a target for the Seahawks. The Seahawks are in need of a strong safety, and this draft offers very few of those with talent. Mays also possesses a special combination of physicality and speed which makes him an asset in the box, but also has the speed to fall back into coverage even when lining up with near the linebackers. This allowed Pete Carroll to show more looks and keep offenses guessing, not to mention cover the run and pass at the same time. Mays is a reach at #14, but with the Whitehurst and Tapp trades, we've seen this front office is more than willing to overpay to get something they want.
Where could Mays go if the Seahawks don't take him? He could go as early as the late teens or early 20's as there is a string teams in that area that are very needy for a safety. However, the impossible to escape Roy Williams comparisons could scare teams away (although Williams somehow made 5 pro-bowls!). Its not unthinkable that Mays could reach the early 2nd round.
Despite his insane potential, I'd prefer not to draft Mays, mainly because the same coach that failed to develop him and fix his mistakes is the same one running our franchise. Carroll may see Mays as an irreplaceable part of his defense though- a player he simply must have to make his defense work. So brace yourselves when the #14 pick comes around (if we still have it). Mays is definitely on the radar.