by Matt Bowen
February 22, 02010
Today, the NFP’s Wes Bunting listed 10 prospects that can head to the combine in Indy and really turn some heads by their performances, but the one name that sticks out to me—and a player I still wonder about heading into April—is USC safety Taylor Mays.
If you follow college ball, then you know about Mays. He is listed at 6-3, 231, and we haven’t seen that size with that amount of athletic ability on a safety since the late Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins.
However, if you follow the NFL, you know what Mays struggled down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. He plays high, and what scouts will say for a defensive back that has that label is a guy with great straight-line speed, but not the type of player that can change directions and react on the field.
As a safety, that is big for the NFL’s brass. They want a player that can close on the football for sure, but they also want a player at that position that can redirect and show scouts that he can plant, turn his hips and use that closing speed to correct mistakes on the field.
That is why safeties such as Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu can make so many plays and are rarely out of position. They have the ultimate control over their bodies and can recover when they are out of position.
But, as we all know with the combine and the importance of the on-the-field testing aspect, Mays can improve his own stock by positing good numbers. He can be one of those players who sees his draft stock escalate and we will soon start seeing his name back in the first round of Mock Drafts across the board—all because of his testing.
And, he should test well. Combine that with the size and the physical aspect of how he looks up close, and many scouts will quickly forget about his technique and his overall flaws of his game. Big week in Indy for the USC star and a week that could make him a first round prospect once again. Because this process of finally hearing your name called on draft day is a roller coaster.
One week you are down and the next weekend you are up. Mays should be that guy on the upswing after he shows the scouts what he can do in shorts.
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