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Patriots inviting veteran and mega-athlete S Taylor Mays to rookie minicamp

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Mays is a seven-year veteran, so this is a low-risk, low-chance move by New England.

The New England Patriots are inviting 6-year veteran S Taylor Mays to participate in the team’s rookie minicamp, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Mays was a second round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2010 NFL Draft, but he was quickly traded for a seventh round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals after just one season. After four years in Cincinnati, he played the 2015 season with the Oakland Raiders and was out of football for 2016 after receiving a four-game suspension for violating league policy.

The 6’3, 230 pound Mays was one of the most tantalizing athletes in NFL Combine history, with a spiderchart that was nearly completely filled in.

And don’t worry about those dips in the shuttle and three cone; his respective times of 4.24s and 6.98s are both still excellent.

So where did Mays go wrong as a player?

He has tight hips that give him to problems in coverage. He takes poor angles. He’s slow to react. He doesn’t have great awareness in traffic. He’s not a sound tackler. He’s the biggest Athletic Mystical Creature Pats Pulpit will have ever seen.

The Patriots are looking for a longterm successor to Patrick Chung. Mays is 29 years old and doesn’t fit the bill, but perhaps he can contribute as a nickel linebacker and on special teams with more success than 2015 second round SS Jordan Richards.

If Mays hasn’t pulled it together after seven seasons, then he’s probably going to remain a pumpkin in New England. But a “tryout” is a zero risk event and the Patriots lose nothing by kicking the tires on such an impressive athlete.