Former O'Dea High and USC star Taylor Mays might have helped his draft status with 4.43 time in the 40, fastest for all defensive backs at scouting combine.
At 230 pounds, USC safety Taylor Mays is bigger than all but one of the other 57 defensive backs who attended the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
On Tuesday, the O’Dea alum was faster than all of them, running the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds, according to the league’s Web site.
“I take pride in being big and being able to move,” Mays said Sunday.
The next question was whether he was able to move well enough at his size. Mays was quietly confident.
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“I can get it done,” he said.
He showed that Tuesday. His 40-yard dash was timed at 4.24 seconds by the NFL Network. That would have been among the fastest times in combine history. Instead, he had to settle for being faster than every other cornerback and safety.
Mays is considered the No. 2 safety available in the draft behind Tennessee’s Eric Berry, whose time in the 40 was 4.47.
Mays’ time in the 40 confirms what Pete Carroll, Seahawks coach and Mays’ coach at USC, has said repeatedly: Mays is going to wow NFL scouts with his physical skills.
Mays was considered a candidate to be chosen in the top 10 had he entered the draft a year ago after his junior season. He finished with 40 fewer tackles as a senior, and no defensive back was subjected to more criticism at the Senior Bowl last month in Alabama than Mays. One league scout described him as stiff and non-instinctive. A personnel executive said Mays’ performance wasn’t as impressive as it had been his junior season.
Mays made up some ground quickly Tuesday. That might not vault him into the top 10, but Mays certainly increased the chances he will be chosen in the middle of the first round.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org