USC safety Mays ‘Taylor’ made for Bengals defense By Carlos "Big C" Holmes | Wednesday, March 17, 2010, 12:01 AM http://www.daytondailynews.com/blog...010/03/17/usc_safety_mays_taylor_made_fo.html The Cincinnati Bengals have the 21st overall pick in April’s NFL draft and could use the selection on University of Southern California safety Taylor Mays. The Bengals have a real need at strong safety behind starter Roy Williams and will likely address the position via the draft. There is no question Williams still has the ability and desire to play at a high level, but the frequent forearm injuries remain a concern. Williams has missed 25 games over the last two seasons due to the injury. An insurance policy is more than necessary. Although Mays would be a perfect fit for the Bengals’ aggressive and attacking defense, he must first become available. After a show-stopping performance at the Scouting Combine last month, there are no guarantees he will be there when the Bengals make their selection. 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. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Mays would flourish in Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s defense. Zimmer loves to bring the strong safety down in the box to support the run or blitz the passer, which is a strength of Mays. Who better to learn Zimmer’s defense from than Williams, who would act as a mentor. Mays’ freakish athleticism at safety reminds me a lot of Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis coming out of Georgia in 2005. Davis split time between safety and linebacker his rookie season before making a permanent switch to outside linebacker a year later. 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 is a physically gifted and talented athlete. I believe the good far out-weighs the negatives. I think the Bengals will overlook Mays’ weaknesses and make him their selection.