Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

24 Apr 2010

Taylor Mays Blames His Slide On Pete Carroll

Former USC safety Taylor Mays is blaming his old coach for his slide to the 49th pick in the draft. He claims that USC's defensive scheme didn't allow him to make enough plays, but that's a little bogus -- Carroll's job at USC was to win games first and prepare players for the draft second. More damning is that Mays claims he asked Carroll all year what he needed to work on for the draft, and Carroll just assured him that he would be fine. Maybe Carroll still hasn't learned the difference between a great college player and a great pro.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 24 Apr 2010

19 comments, Last at 26 Apr 2010, 2:35am by Xeynon


by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 6:42am

I am so glad that noone ever asked me question at the most pivotal moment of my life(perceived) and then recorded answer

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 7:48am

Heck yeah ... if some of my comments through the years had been published ... I dread to think ...

by FireSnake78 (not verified) :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 7:56am

Might be a stupid question, but why is Carroll more responsible for winning games than preparing players for the next level? Wouldn't the latter be more appealing to the best prospects when they choose their college, and wouldn't that in consequence win more championships, if Carroll only got the recruiting (and the alleged cheating, Bush-style) right?

by fek9wnr (not verified) :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 8:05am

I don't really think Pete Carroll needs recruiting tips. Bu$h aside, USC raked in far more talent than any other school while he was there.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 8:08am

The short of it is that USC paid Carroll's wages and they want national championships. I take your point that there is a recruiting bonus if you can say to players "We sent this many players to the pro's last year" but athletes are rarely that forethinking.

Take Tebow ... his coach could have spent 2-3 years getting him to change his throwing motion to make it NFL-ready. But that would probably have lowered his effectiveness as a college player and he might not even have performed as well as he did. Tebow still went first round and his college coach didn't have to try to change anything ...

by tuluse :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 6:09pm

90% of college players don't go pro, but they still like to win games.

by andrew :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 9:30am

Pete Caroll's insistence on picking up first downs while on offense, sustaining drives obviously took away opportunities for Mays to make more plays.

When his contract is up for renewal, will he blame Singletery for the same, putting the Niners ahead of May's contract?

by Karl Cuba :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 9:51am

I loved the niners' two picks in the first round, beefing up the line and making Gore a happy camper. I like the Bowman pick, though I think he'll move to TED for the niners but he's a talented player. I also wonder if there's an upper limit to the effectiveness of Samurai Mike's reform school for underachieving prospects, he's worked wonders with Vernon Davis and Ahmad Brooks but now there's another Davis and Bowman to worry about.

I'm really not so sure about Mays. He runs like a cheetah and hits like a train. But he turns like a train too and I'm not sure he'll actually be able to cover anyone. I could be far too down on him though, he is damn fast and physical and perhaps he'll rampage about in the box, adding another layer of intimidation to a pretty mean defense. Regardless, he's very likely to be he starting SS for SF next year.

by jimbohead :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 12:00pm

I'll agree on the first round, since I don't claim to know anything at all about Bowman. Here's something kindof weird to consider: assuming both Davis and Iupati start sometime soon, the 9ers oline will consist of 3 1st rd picks, 1 2nd rd pick (chosen I think 34th overall), and one 7th rd pick. Arguably, Heitmann, the 7th rd pick, is the best of the bunch.

by Vincent Verhei :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 12:54pm

He runs like a cheetah and hits like a train. But he turns like a train too and I'm not sure he'll actually be able to cover anyone.

This is brilliant, and I'm going to use it as often as possible.

by Big Johnson (not verified) :: Sun, 04/25/2010 - 12:38am

Big Johnson likes this *thumbs up*

by roguerouge :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 11:04am

Hm. Most people would define being taken in the middle of the second round as better than "fine" one would think.

by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 11:09am

hehehe "turns like a train"

That is seriously funny.

On a side note, I'm not sure why teams will look at a guy like Mays who does alot of things exceptionally and one or two other things poorly and decide they don't need him. Yet, they will take a guy who does nothing exceptionally and nothing poorly and decide "thats our guy".

I'm sure there are examples on both sides of the argument. But doesn't that mean that teams are taking a chance either way. Please google "Jahvid Best Taylor Mays" if you want to see some video evidence of what the 9ers lucked into getting.

by peachy :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 12:52pm

I would guess it's because weaknesses get exposed pretty ruthlessly in the NFL - if a guy does something poorly, he needs to be slotted into just the right system to cover for that flaw. (And you have to admit that when a DB's list of flaws includes "coverage", that's pretty significant.)

That's basically why he fell from "right behind Eric Berry" in the summer of 2009 to "second rounder" in the spring of 2010. In 2008, he was part of the best defence in D-I - his weaknesses were covered by the talent around him, and he was able to play his ideal role, as a linebacker in a safety's body. In 2009 all of his buddies were in the NFL, and a much less experienced group of colleagues left him exposed in coverage too often.

I think Mays can be an excellent pro - but he's going to be particularly reliant on his coaches and fellow defenders to put him in a position to succeed.

by Thok :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 11:13am

As long as Mays doesn't turn into Mike Rumph 2.0, I won't mind. (Granted, unlike Rumph, they'll start Mays at safety rather than corner.)

by jimbohead :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 11:39am

I think the frustration is just, he asked him specifically what he could work on to become a better prospect, after the season was over, and Caroll basically said, everything's perfect, don't worry about anything, then went and took another Safety. I mean yeah, its stupid to say some things, but he just lost several million dollars relative to expectation in the last two days. You better believe he's pissed.

And, ftr, I really think the Seahawks are going to regret giving Caroll this position. Maybe its the homer in me, but I don't think he's an NFL caliber prospect. Reminds me of the Terry Donahue fiasco.

by Xeynon (not verified) :: Mon, 04/26/2010 - 2:35am

I mean yeah, its stupid to say some things, but he just lost several million dollars relative to expectation in the last two days.

Which was in no way whatsoever Pete Carroll's fault. If one of Mays' faults as a prospect was that he was stiff and lacked the agility to excel in coverage in the NFL, there's not a lot Carroll could have done to correct that - he already was as good a prospect as he was going to be, albeit as a strictly in-the-box strong safety type. Since that type of safety is not exactly in vogue in today's NFL, his value on draft day dropped.

Among the other negatives I saw in a lot of scouting reports on Mays were that he was lacking in maturity, too taken with his own press clippings, and had an unwarranted sense of entitlement. This outburst would tend to confirm all that. I wouldn't be surprised if he's Roy Williams 2.0 in the NFL, a great college safety who's a quasi-bust at the next level because he's unable to run with professional caliber receivers and washes out after a few years as a result.

by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Sat, 04/24/2010 - 12:50pm

Carroll could turn out to be a great talent evaluator. He's obviously got some success at projecting players from high school to college. Maybe he'll also be able to project talent from college to the pros. Jimmy Johnson certainly could though I'm not sure if he was helping Jones make those picks.

by Big Johnson (not verified) :: Sun, 04/25/2010 - 12:42am

one thing that bodes well for carroll is that hes not afraid to change his opinion. He recruited mays and gave him the job from day 1 at USC. He doesn't owe mays a spot on the seahawks roster because of that, and if he wont make a good pro its actually professional of carroll to not draft him. Pro and college football are different games.