With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.
Safety is one of the positions that we need the smallest amount of help. With the newly drafted Pat Chung, the young Brandon Meriweather, the Tight End defender Brandon McGowan, and the stable James Sanders, we don't really need another safety. However, Taylor Mays might be worth making an exception for. Mays isn't the best in coverage, but is great against the run, meaning that he'd most likely be playing in the box. He's large for the position and perhaps could bulk up a little more and play OLB in the Tank Williams type role we experimented with. Mays has seen his stock drop from top 5 prospect, down to a second round pick over the span of a season. I think that if any team could utilize Mays on the defensive side, it'd be Bill Belichick. The Patriots are missing a stable core of OLBs and, while the draft is full of OLBs, they're mostly pass rush OLBs who can't drop into coverage. Mays could fill in at the other OLB slot, cover tight ends, stop the run and cover the middle. Is Mays worth the risk?
His measurements and some quotes after the jump.
Height: 6-3. Weight: 230.
Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
Combine 40 Time: 4.30.
Benchx225: 24. Vertical: 41.
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.
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03/21/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT SAFETIES: Taylor Mays, Southern California, 6-3, 230, 1: Even in a supposedly controlled environment, Mays seems to create controversy and defy description. At the combine, there was agreement that he measured 6-3?, 230 pounds. But various stop watches had his 40-yard time somewhere between 4.24 (NFL Network) and 4.43 seconds (NFL.com). According to combine officials responsible for collating official times, Mays' sprints registered at 4.31 and 4.33 seconds. So let's agree that he has a freakish combination of size and speed. The real question is what Mays does with it. His penchant for intimidating and mugging players seems to override reacting to the ball. He was used as a center-field type safety because he is at his best when things are in front of him so he can use great closing speed to make a play. But he often took bad angles on deeper plays, resulting in him trailing when he should have been on top of the receiver. If he puts it together, Mays could be a difference-maker in the NFL. His father, Stafford Mays, was a defensive lineman in the NFL for nine seasons. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com/CBS Sports/USA TODAY
Mays has an outstanding combination of size, strength and athleticism for the safety position. He possesses excellent speed, quickness and burst for his size, which makes him a versatile player who could fit in several different schemes. He has good instincts to attack the alley as a run defender and can make plays in the passing game as a deep safety. He tends to be too aggressive with the ball in the air, trying to make the big hit instead of making a play on the ball. He can be inconsistent with his angles and technique but relies on his great athleticism to recover and make the play. Mays will be highly coveted in this year's draft if concerns about his overall mental makeup are answered.
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Verdict: Mays has the skill set to do very well in our defense. We most likely created plays to fit Tank Williams, so Mays would enter the team with a great playbook already made for him. If Mays drops to the second of our 2nd round picks, Mays is such an athlete that we might have to take him for experiment's sake- he and Bruce Campbell are the only two players who has athletics that would lead me to pick them for athletics alone. Most likely, Mays will be off the board before I'd be willing to take him.