Much was made about USC safety Taylor Mays’ slide at the 2010 NFL Draft. Once projected as a Top 10 pick, Mays instead dropped to the second round, where he was snagged by the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 49 pick.
The 6’3, 235-pound safety who ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine has always had off-the-charts physical tools. The questions that arose about Mays regarded his ability in coverage and whether or not he would work hard enough at the next level. Despite his exceptional work ethic at USC and excellent resume, NFL scouts questioned whether or not he would translate at the next level.
Well, so far the San Francisco 49ers are thrilled Mays dropped in their laps.
During minicamp Mays intercepted two passes and was referred to as the team’s “star” on defense. Since then he’s obviously impressed head coach Mike Singletary and the rest of the coaching staff because of his work ethic and willingness to learn.
Singletary referred to Mays as the “most annoying” rookie on the roster, but he meant it in a good way.
Singletary told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, “He’s driving (secondary coach) Vance Joseph and Johnnie (Lynn) crazy. He’s called me a few times. He’s called them a few times. ‘Hey coach, what about this? He coach what about that? Can we get together tomorrow? Can we do this? Can I come in on Sunday?'”
The 49ers are so enamored with Mays that the team is even considering using a three-safety nickel package that would use Mays close to the line of scrimmage, which is where he would likely be most effective.
Putting Mays closer to the line will take advantage of what he does best: chasing down ball-carriers and hitting people really, really hard.
He certainly seems to have made a great impression so far and you’d have to believe he will see lots of playing time early in his career with the 49ers.