When is big too big?
Taylor Mays is finding out the hard way. The soon-to-be first-round draft choice from USC and O’Dea High School was a four-year starter and three-time All-American on one of the best college teams in the nation.
But questions about his ability to move in space continue to dog Mays, who participated in the Trojans’ Pro Day workout on Wednesday.
“It’s been tough,” Mays told reporters after the session. “It’s been up-and-down. I feel good. I’d rather have people talking about me than not talking about me.”
Even when the comments are like this? “He’s OK in space, but you don’t want him in tons of space,” one scout told the Los Angeles Times. “His size almost hurts him. A little bit of a smaller man might move around a little better, even if he’s not as good an athlete.”
Mays appears to be taking the “criticism” as it is intended.
“They know I can run fast. They know I can hit and all that stuff,” he said. “But being able to be a big safety and being able to move is my biggest thing. I think that’s the biggest question mark.”
Mays is big – 6 feet 3, 230 pounds big. He’s also fast – 4.31 seconds over 40 yards fast. And athletic – a 41-inch vertical leap and 24 reps with 225 pounds in the bench press at the scouting combine in February.
Wednesday, Mays passed on running another 40, focusing instead on the agility and position drills to show the NFL that he has what it takes to be an elite safety at the next level.
“I wasn’t backpedaling too much on film or doing many one-on-one things (at USC),” he said. “That’s why the DB drills were most important. They know I can run fast.”