While you guys were severely irritated at me making the suggestion that the Bengals should draft Eric Berry (if he's there), who will (barring unforeseen circumstances) be gone before the Bengals 21st overall pick, the Bengals could elect to pick up another safety that's far more likely to be around. Even then, Holmes writes, he could be gone after he had a "show-stopping performance" at the Combine last month.
Mays will have to make it past the Seattle Seahawks with the No. 6 and No. 14 overall picks for that to happen. The team is in the market for a safety since releasing Deon Grant. I think this pick is a no-brainer. No one knows Mays better than Seahawks new head coach Pete Carroll, who coached him for four seasons at USC. Not to mention his former position coach Ken Norton Jr., who also joined the coaching staff this offseason.
Should Mays slip past Seattle, he could be there for the Bengals at No. 21.
While Holmes believes that Mays would "flourish" in Mike Zimmer's defense, which encourages safeties to jam the box to "support the run or blitz the passer", he notes things about Mays that aren't all that awesome.
Mays’ questionable instincts and poor change-of-direction skills in coverage could be headed down the same path. The player tends to take bad angles in coverage and would rather make a big hit than make a play on the ball. Mays will need to be more consistent making plays on the ball in the pros. Presentation may be something else to improve on.
According to sources, Mays could see his stock dip on draft day if Seattle fails to pull the trigger. I’m told that Mays did not interview well with some teams at the Senior Bowl and combine. It was also stated that the player came across as arrogant and with an over-inflated ego.
Mays has been brought up several times . One of which was an article written by Geoff Hobson after the Bengals signed Antonio Bryant. "Another thing (signing Bryant) does is crack the first round of next month's draft wide open. Get the tight end in the second round, the wideout in the third and the Taylor Mays and Mike Iupati factions can start dreaming at No. 21."
If Iupati is no longer on the board once the Bengals are on the clock another option could be Taylor Mays, the overgrown safety from USC. Before last season, many scouts had Mays as a top-five pick, but he has since slipped based on his inability to cover slot receivers one-on-one. Yet he made up some of that ground running an astonishing 4.26 unofficial 40-yard dash time at the Combine. That kind of speed, combined with his 6'3''/230lbs. size, would give Mike Zimmer a legitimate freak to work with. Zim developed another big safety, Roy Williams, into a pro-bowler; who's to say he couldn't do the same with Mays?
Mays is a safety/linebacker hybrid type who could help the run defense become even more stout while also being the imposing head hunter striking fear into receivers' hearts as they cross the middle of the field. After drafting Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga in recent years, the Bengals seem comfortable taking former USC defenders. Selecting this Trojan would allow Zimmer to become even more creative with his scheme and also give him a defensive back that can match up with the bigger receivers in the league. If Iupati is gone and Mays is still there, I think this pick is a no-brainer.