Taylor Mays is looking like a starter in Cincy

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Though Taylor Mays ran a forty time in the 4.3s coming out of USC in 2010, many NFL prognosticators were down on him due to stiff hips and a lack of playmaking ability. Mays runs really fast in a straight line and can lay wood when he’s locked onto a target, but he didn’t cause turnovers in college and struggles mightily in space.

The 49ers drafted Mays with the 49th overall pick three Aprils ago. They dumped him for a 2013 seventh-round pick last August. Mays is now in position to start for the Bengals.

According to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, Mays “is the guy that seems to be playing the most” with free safety Reggie Nelson on the first-team defense at Bengals OTAs.

Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer confirmed that the position is open to competition, with Robert Sands, Jeromy Miles, and rookie George Iloka all pushing Mays.

“Still got a ways to go,” Zimmer said of Mays. “[He needs] consistency. Doing things right. Discipline. Accountability. Whoever lines up there, that is what I want: accountability. Day in and day out.”

51 responses to “Taylor Mays is looking like a starter in Cincy

  1. He can be a great contributor to your secondary, but unless he’s made huge strides I doubt he should be a starter.

  2. Kid’s a beast. Competed against the high school I went to before I went there, I hope he does really well. Class act.

  3. This guy uses his 4.3 40 to get way out of the play really fast. I’m worried to see what the other DB’s look like.

  4. he needs to lose some of that muscle mass and work on flexibility and moving laterally. Taylor seems like a good kid with good work ethic, but his body type could easily turn him into a Bob Sanders / LaRon Landry ‘big hitter yet injury prone’ sort of player.

    Good luck either way 🙂

  5. I still can’t believe he got mad at Pete Carroll for taking Earl Thomas instead.

  6. Great athlete in a straight line but a liability going laterally and changing direction. He’d be a HOFer if football was played on a bowling lane.

    Reminds me too much of S Roy Williams once defenses realized he couldn’t cover. Ask Dallas fans how much that hurt.

    He’ll make ESPN highlight hits but get a nimble TE or burner of a WR in the middle of the field and it could get ugly for the Bengals.

  7. Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, and Icky Woods all need explanations.

  8. PFT commenters say he’s a liability in coverage, too big to be a safety, lacks hip fluidity. Must make it truth despite him never seeing actual significant playing time in the NFL or any of these commenters actually having, you know, the film, expertise and jobs as NFL scouts/coaches to know one way or the other.

  9. As much crap as that team he gotten in the past, mostly rightfully so, they’ve really been making some solid personnel moves the past couple of years. My question is, who the hell is running that team now? It certainly can’t be Brown.

  10. And SF thought that was worth a 2nd round pick.


    No Singletay did and Balke relented to him, thats why he is coaching linebackers and the Niners have the best D in the league.

  11. I had a friend with extreme 4.3 speed/straight line runner and he could never catch me on the football field and I ran the late 4.4’s. He had no ability to keep the speed up while making cuts. God gave him awesome straight line speed, but took away something also in the process, hip movement.
    A good route runner would be able to have their way with Mays.

  12. Bengals D may have finished well last year, but you can’t tell me a soft schedule didn’t help after finishing 3rd in the AFCN in 2010. If you look at teams they played with an actual offense and the pts they allowed:
    Bal-31, 24
    Pit- 24, 35
    Hou- 20
    …that’s pretty much it. Every other team they played had an anemic offense. This year they will be facing a much more difficult schedule. The obovious Bal x2, Pit x2, then Denver, Dallas, NYG, San Diego, possibly Washington with more fire power this year… it’s day and night. Let’s see how they deal with an actual tough schedule.

    Sidebar: ESPN has an article out there about the Cincy D going to stink it up this year. I suggest you check it out.

  13. Taylor Mays … proof positive why Mike Singletary needs to be locked out of his team’s war room on draft days.

    Singletary thought Mays was worth the second round pick but had to be convinced to pick Patrick Willis. That pretty much says it all.

  14. @pencilmonkeymagic…. I think Coach Sing went to bat for the kid.

    My major factor with Mays was maturity. The way he went out of his way to down Pete Carroll for not drafting him. I do hope the best for him still. Good luck getting that starting job Mr Mays. 🙂

  15. If a football field was 10-yards wide, his incredible speed would make a difference. The mere fact he can only run in straight lines and has NO feel for the passing game is a bit of a problem.

  16. @howiehandles – I think he has quietly handed over decisions to Marvin and his daughter Katie. At a minimum, he hasn’t been as stubborn in personnel decisions and is letting Marvin find “his kind of player” i.e. guys that are leaders and have a winning, team-first attitude.

  17. As far as SF is concerned, I can live with Mays being the worst pick Baalke has made considering how well he has done otherwise.

    Funny though that just two years after drafting the incredible Hulk (Mays), Baalke drafted an Earl Thomas type. Either he deferred too much to Singletary on the Mays pick or he realizes that in today’s pass-happy NFL, very few 225-230 lb safeties are going to be successful (probably both).

    Earl Thomas: 5’10”, 202 lbs
    Trenton Robinson: 5’10”, 195 lbs

  18. dannyalanbishop says:
    Jun 4, 2012 11:31 PM

    just so ya know bud, the bengals def finish 6th

    actually, Bengals finished 7th. My Jags were #6.

  19. @rockthered

    sidebar… last year ESPN had cincy 32nd overall and the worst franchise in all major sports how’d that work out for them? I hope you don’t go to ESPN for your sporting news…. and with your stats they played pretty much the identical schedule as the ravens and Steelers so were their defenses weak too?
    just sayin’

    as a safety Mays isn’t playing man that’s for the corners so honestly his straight line speed won’t effect him as much as if he was a corner he’s back there to help, roam, and blitz.. and its June who has a starting lineup in June?

    that weeden comment was hilarious by the way thanks for the laugh…

  20. with all the playmaking TE’s in the league, it’s hard to think that this guy cant find a role.

    So much natural talent, you would think some coach some where would have what it takes to push this kid to another level..

    But, he is in Cincy,, so that next level might be federal incarceration

  21. I hope opposing QB’s look at Mays and think they can beat him. That means they aren’t paying attention to the rest of the defense which in turn will put them on their collective asses.

    Bengals defense ranked 6th last year and that was with a pretty weak secondary. The secondary is better now. But go ahead, concentrate on Mays, please.

  22. Stiller43 says:Jun 4, 2012 11:18 PM

    As a steeler fan…GOOD.

    won’t matter if Mays is a starter, Todd Haley will run your offense straight into the ground.

  23. While I certainly understand the hesitation, I don’t understand the certainty this kid will suck. He struggled as a rookie in 2010 under a train-wrecked coaching staff in San Francisco, and got traded to the Bengals on the eve of the 2011 regular season. He hasn’t had a credible sample size worthy of passing judgment.

    Seems like a good kid. I wish him the best. I think that Bengals defensive line rotation is going to ease the burden on whoever wins that starting safety spot.

  24. Robert Sands is a playmaker, and lays the wood. Only problem is he is 6’5″ and a little lanky. I hope he starts he is a boss.

  25. should fit nicely with our 6 first round Corners. 7 first rounders in the secondary if you count Nelson at safety.
    Zimmer simply won’t play him if he isn’t ready, not worried at all. we have 3 safeties who are taller than 6′ 3″ and all run in the 4.4s. Our D is going to be real good this year top to bottom

  26. He’ll get hurt.. any player that starts to “stand out” for Cincy gets hurt.

    I’ve always thought that’s due to poor conditioning but can’t prove that.

  27. steeelfann says:
    Jun 5, 2012 8:06 AM
    Antonio Brown just licked his chops. Sweet.

    Yeah..right after Mays pulled it out. Who knew??

  28. As a Boise State fan, if Taylor Mays is the starter, that means that George Iloka is going to get on the field a lot for the Bengals this year. Go George! Go BSU!

  29. @rgwhodey

    Don’t kid yourself. 17th in INTs and FF’s last year. 28th in sacks. With an easy schedule last year. Ravens and Steelers both had at least 2 tougher opponents and still ended up in the top 3.

    Overall you have a average D, a starting RB who has spent his career a game manager without taking on a full work load, and a 2nd year QB who teams figured out in the last month of the season. 7-9. Enjoy.

  30. Mays is like Roy William in dallas when zimmer was there mays reminds me of him alot.

  31. i still dont know why the niners were so eager to get ridd of him… i had high hopes for the guy, wish the niners had been more patient with him.. wish him well..

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