Taylor Mays’ anger is misdirected

Apr 24, 2010 at 9:23 AM10

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
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Alex
    Mays will NOT be a linebacker in the NFL (period). He will be a safety as long as he's in a 49ers roster. That is 100% guaranteed!
    May 4, 2010 at 2:00 AM
  • EVBeezee
    It says right freaking here that Taylor Mays will be a highly successful player in the NFL. PERIOD, POINT BLANK!
    May 3, 2010 at 5:02 PM
    Response: ... what?
  • Jay
    Mays was a good soldier last year for SC. He led the team in tackles and was required to support the new LB corps (all four were new). His role did change. He made some mistakes. So did Lott. He wasn't the best cover guy. Neither were Lott or Polamalu. Pete hurt Mays by taking Thomas. It told the rest of the league Mays wasn't good enouugh. Earl Thomas is another Michael Huff, big hype that won't translate. Mays will be successful. Pull out the 42 jersey.
    Apr 26, 2010 at 7:17 PM
  • Jd
    What chance do berry, Thomas, or Haden have covering wr's since they are all much slower with the exception of berry don't have as good hops and all are giving up about 5" to mays in height. He is a safty not a lb
    Apr 26, 2010 at 6:34 PM
  • The love Doctor
    Well, if they move him to OLB he might have a pretty good future but if he has to cover anything other than TE's and RB's than he will be left in the dust quick, fast, and in a hurry.
    Apr 25, 2010 at 7:15 AM
  • smifunk
    I think what's not being pointed out is that Carroll is not the Seattle GM. While he may have had some say he does not make the final decisions on players being drafted.
    Apr 24, 2010 at 5:18 PM
  • CalGiantsNiners
    While I agree with your analysis for the most part, I think you're forgetting the human component. I appreciate Mays' candor and can understand how let down he must feel after having done the "right thing" (as opposed to the conventional thinking of today) by returning to school and showing so little for it football-wise. Conversely, I used to respect Carroll (not easy for a Cal fan) but after his poutfest when Sanchez declared, his bizarre behavior after the SC-Stanford game and now not even leveling with his defensive leader for the past 2 years, he's clearly no Singletary in the character department.
    Apr 24, 2010 at 12:17 PM
  • pietro
    your article is mis-titled
    Apr 24, 2010 at 10:25 AM
    Response: While I don't necessarily agree, it got you to read it.
  • niner
    Mays can turn lemons into lemonade. Ronnie lott, kenny Easly and Dennis smith were part of a great saftey group. Seattle took Easley and SF took Ronnie, guess who has the sb rings and HOF? Mays should work on back peddling and pass coverage, since he has the rest. Hopefully coaching ( rhodes seifret etc for ronnie) can bring out the best in him. Davis was pretty pitiful until he started focusing on catching the ball. Now he can be really really good.
    Apr 24, 2010 at 9:58 AM
  • NinerNewbie
    You said it.. the best place to take out his anger would be on the field, ESPECIALLY against Seattle! Make Carroll regret his decision and give us a win!
    Apr 24, 2010 at 9:51 AM

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