College: Southern California
Hometown: Seattle, WA
NFL Experience: 5
The Cincinnati Bengals make it a point to re-sign all of their backups who had a positive impact in the previous season. Taylor Mays struggled to do so for the majority of his career, but after entering training camp last year on the roster bubble as a safety, Mike Zimmer began playing him at linebacker as well.
The results were very good as Mays split time between those two spots, and he was even played at cornerback occasionally. Needless to say, he became the Swiss Army knife of the defense.
This offseason, the Bengals re-signed Mays to a one-year deal. They're are banking on him returning to full health in 2014 and continuing to be a solid contributor off the bench.
Mays entered the NFL in 2010 as a second-round draft choice of San Francisco and was obtained by the Bengals in a 2011 trade. He has 50 career NFL games played, with 10 starts.
He has 79 career tackles, four passes defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt recovery for a touchdown. Mays played in last season's first eight games, with one start, before suffering a season-ending shoulder dislocation against the New York Jets on the final snap of the first-half.
Mays could continue to pull double-duty and play both positions in 2014. That, or he could focus on playing linebacker full-time, but he probably should avoid playing safety full-time ever again.
He just doesn't have the lateral quickness and field vision to hold up in coverage, but the defensive backfield is pretty thin right now. Mays has a great shot to be on the final 53-man roster, but he's by no means a lock for it.