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There seems to be some confusion regarding the reason for newly drafted San Francisco 49ers safety Taylor Mays' anger toward his former USC head coach, Pete Carroll. Some seem to think that Mays is angry because Carroll did not draft him, opting to go with safety Earl Thomas of Texas with the #11 selection in the first round, rather than take his former player.
That is not the case. Earl Thomas was the better player at that spot and not even Carroll saw him falling to them. So when the selection came up, there was not even a hesitation on who the right player was to select.
The reason for Mays' anger actually goes back a year when he was trying to decide whether or not to declare himself eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft. Had he left USC, he most likely would have been a higher selection. It was Carroll who convinced him to stay at USC and that him staying would not hurt his draft status, indicating that his role on the team would not change. That would not be the case. How Mays was used on the USC defense was different. Whether or not that hurt his draft status is questionable, but obviously Mays feels that it contributed to the slip.
Later, when he asked Carroll what he needed to work on, Mays was told that everything about his game looked fine and that there was nothing he really needed to work on. He felt that Carroll led him to believe that he was ready for the NFL Draft, when in fact he probably should have prepared better if he wanted to be drafted higher than he was.
Mays said, "I definitely thought from the relationship we had, the things that he had told me about what I needed to be aware of with the draft process and things that I needed to do, I felt he told me the complete opposite of the actions that he took, which was definitely - it was alarming. ... I understand it's a business. But with it being a business, he needs to be honest. And that's all I was asking for."
While this situation may have cost Mays a good deal of money, there is nothing he can do about it now and his anger is misdirected. Instead of focusing his anger on one person, he should focus his anger on NFL offenses and prove to everyone that he was worthy of a higher selection. There is still a lot of question marks regarding his abilities. Everyone knows he is a hard hitter but he seems to be a "highlight reel" type of guy. While he will make a lot of big hits, he seems to focus too much on it and not reliably tackle a player instead.
Who is right and who is wrong? It does not matter. Whether it be college or the pros, football is a business and it was Carroll's job to win football games. He said what he had to in order to keep Mays at USC. Just ask Mark Sanchez. Mays probably should have kept his mouth shut rather than stirring up a story for the media to jump all over. It is up to Mays to prove himself to Carroll and the rest of the league and there is no better place than San Francisco for him to learn how to become that better player. After all, his new head coach is one of the best defensive players to ever play the game. San Francisco is a perfect fit for him to transition from a high potential player to an NFL star.
Instead of directing his anger at one person, Mays must direct his anger toward 31 NFL teams.
* Mays quote from the Sacramento Bee