Monday, January 5, 2009

Decision Time: S Taylor Mays, USC


Why Mays Should Play on Saturdays in 2009:

1. Finish what you started –
Mays has had an outstanding career at USC, but the one thing he hasn’t done is capture a National Championship. Returning to a team that will likely retain a vast majority of its starters on both sides of the ball would give Mays an outstanding shot to go out on top.

2. Prove it to me –
Mays was named one of the top two ‘workout warriors’ by ESPN the Magazine prior to the 2008 season. While he has been good in his first two full seasons as a starter, the more time he can spend shutting down wide receivers, the more scouts will see that he’s not just good in the weight room.

3. Experience and Conditioning –
While Mays slipped into a starting spot as a freshman, he’s still learning every day. Part of that is in the film room and on the field under the excellent USC defensive coaching staff, but more of it is off the field. Mays has worked hard to get his body into shape for the rigors of the NFL and another year would put him in even better shape, both mentally and physically.

Why Mays Should Play on Sundays in 2009:

1. Momentum, go with it –
You could argue that there are one or two safeties who are better than Mays, but the finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award can only really go downhill. A National Championship, while nice, won’t raise his stock any, and an injury would kill it.

2. He’s got the tools, he’s got the talent… –
While it wasn’t the Combine or Pro Day, ESPN The Magazine’s article about the top workout guys in college raised Mays’ profile. His numbers are staggering and scouts love his measurables. Mays also showed his toughness by stepping into a starting position freshman year and his leadership ability by mentoring younger players.

3. …. And he’s shown it on the field too –
While Mays’ numbers aren’t gaudy and he’s not running pick sixes back often, he is very consistent at his spot. That consistency – and the de-cleating hits he loves putting on opposing players – will make him a welcome addition to an NFL team and allow him to step in and contribute early.

Garda's Take: There just isn’t much left for Mays to prove. He’s a hard hitting, speedy player poised to excel at the next level. While the ‘workout warrior’ label has some people worried, Mays has proven that he has what it takes on the field as well as in the weight room.

Photo Credit: College Press Box(USC Athletics)