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Thread: Strong Safety

  1. #1
    C-Mob 71's Avatar
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    Strong Safety

    I know this seems like a ridiculous thought to most, but why not take USC SS Taylor Mays with our 2nd overall pick?

    I know thats not where safeties are "supposed" to go, but I think as the NFL changes, difference makers in the secondary that can cover and tackle are essential for top notch defenses.

    Lets look at some of the most feared defenses around the league; Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Tennessee, and even to an extent Indianapolis. What is the common factor of all these defenses? You guessed it, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Chris Hope, and Bob Sanders. Sure they have other great players, but I think Ed Reed in particular has shown how valuable a ball hawking safety is. Do you think any one of these teams would pass on these players if they had the chance to grab them with the second pick? I think not.

    Now I dont have to preach to the choir about how bad our safeties have played, especially a certain respected team leader. We all agree that we need to upgrade that position, a position that I believe is one of the most important on the field. So why let history, tradition, and a guy with too much hair gel prevent us from taking a player who runs like a corner and hit like a linebacker?

    (Disclaimer: I love Mel Kiper Jr.)


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    Re: Strong Safety

    I love Mays as a prospect, I do, but I just can't see anything that warrants him being the highest safety ever selected in the NFL draft. He's not quite Sean Taylor, but with that said, he's not far off. It's also an issue of money- being drafted that high may make him the highest paid Safety ever without having played a down of pro football.

    I think what teams like Indy, Baltimore, etc all boast over everything else is not good safety play, but good defensive play in general. Yes, the Safeties help, but on these teams, everyone is discipled, everyone knows their role and therefore these defensive units are just well coached. If we trade down a little I'd fully advocate Mays or Mauluga or Laurinitis. Just not at pick two.

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    Re: Strong Safety

    I really like Mays. I watched alot of his games and he is a play maker.

    However, as Bar-bq mentioned, only way I would take Mays (or even Maualuga and Lauranitis) is if we trade down.

    If we don't get any of those three guys, whoever does will be landing a great player.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Devaney, if you care about this team... fire the offensive coordinator!!!!

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    Re: Strong Safety

    because an OL is so important

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    Re: Strong Safety

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Mob 71 View Post
    Do you think any one of these teams would pass on these players if they had the chance to grab them with the second pick?
    That's not the point though, because teams don't draft in hindsight.

    Mays is a great prospect, but the safety position is simply not a position you're going to see selected with those kinds of high picks because it's not a big money position like QB, LT, DE, CB, etc. In the last decade, only one safety has been selected in the top five, and that was Sean Taylor with the fifth overall pick in 2004. And he was arguably one of the best college safety prospects to have come out in a long, long time.

    NFL teams just can't devote that much money or resources to the position. Drafting a safety at second overall means as a rookie his contract could potentially double the guaranteed money guys like Reed or Polamalu are getting. It's not abnormal for top pick rookies to rank among the more highly paid players at their position, but nearly doubling the guaranteed money of the best veterans is a bit extreme.

    Look at where the game-changing safeties you mentioned were actually drafted: Reed (24th overall), Polamalu (16th overall), Sanders (44th overall), Dawkins (61st overall), Hope (93rd overall). None of those guys were top ten picks, let alone top five picks. If Mays lives up to the hype about his cornerback-like speed and athleticism, he could crack into the top ten like a Landry or a Huff. But I just don't think you're going to see many franchises using a top five pick on that position.

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    Re: Strong Safety

    Thanks for answering everyone. So it basically comes down to money issues. I personally think elite safeties are as important to a defense as QB's are to offense, and should be compensated so. However I can't really justify paying Mays more than the guys I mentioned, and rich is right with the oline being such a priority. This year is obviously not the right year to draft a safety first, but I don't believe our defense will be competitive until we fix the strong safety position.

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    Re: Strong Safety

    Interesting write-up from the Draft Daddy website regarding Mays in the top five...

    Tom Kowalski on WDFN thinks U.S.C. safety Taylor Mays could be the answer for Lions' top pick.

    DD.comment: While Taylor Mays is a great athlete and hard-hitter, we are not sure he's top 5 material. We think N.F.L. scouts and execs must look at two potential "red flags" before they over draft him: One, while his reported junior day 40 times (4.24 to 4.32) are eye popping for a linebacker-sized safety, U.S.C.'s track seems to be very fast. Fast to the point where their place kicker ran a 4.49 last spring and their top linebackers ran in the low 4.5's. While Mays might be as fast as his junior day times indicate, expect N.F.L. execs to really push him hard to run at the Combine, so he can be timed on the same track as his peers. If he's really a sub 4.3 guy (or close), he should have no problem repeating that in Indy.

    Also, and much more importantly, our sources are indicating scouts will try to delve into the reasons why Mays makes very few "big plays". While many fans in cyberspace have dubbed him the "next Ed Reed", his stats don't back that up at all. Mays has collected only one interception (10/06/07 @ Stanford for 0 yards), forced 1 fumble and recorded 2 tackles for loss in the last two seasons combined! Also, Mays never recorded a sack in his 3 years at U.S.C. Now, contrast that to DD.com's favorite safety prospect, Tennessee star Eric Berry, who has collected 12 interceptions for 487 yards and 3 touchdowns and accumulated 11 tackles for loss (3 sacks) in the last two years. Berry, a true sophomore, will not be draft eligible until the spring of 2010. One last point, Mays lack of big plays the last two years is even more startling to us, when you consider U.S.C.'s very promising, but seldom used freshman safety Drew McAllister, was able to garner 3 picks last season in very limited playing time behind Mays and Kevin Ellison.

    Again, we aren't saying Mays can't play, but a smart N.F.L. team has to look at why he has made so few "big plays" the last two years. Is this due to U.S.C.'s defensive schemes and how he is used or is he just a good tackler and hard-hitter, but not a Ed Reed or Eric Berry like game changer, who teams want to use a real high pick on?
    It's a very interesting question they pose. Some will tell you that Mays' responsibility in the USC defense was to basically shut down the deep pass by playing centerfield, and he did it effectively. But that doesn't answer the question as to whether he's going to be an Ed Reed caliber playmaker at the next level. Mays as a centerfielding FS should have a very successful career in terms of improving the pass defense of whatever team he goes to. But I think there's legitimate concern as to whether he's going to be the next Reed/Polamalu 7+ INT guy.

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    Re: Strong Safety

    As another option C-Mob, Dawan Landry is a restricted free agent, and Jim Leonard has established himself as a very good safety to pair with Ed Reed. One, we need to wait to see what Dawan is tendered as and then see what it would take to pry Landry away from Baltimore. He's young and good, a perfect one to pair with a locked up Atogwe.

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    Re: Strong Safety

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Mob 71 View Post
    (Disclaimer: I love Mel Kiper Jr.)
    I'm not exactly sure why but I've always preferred the Mayock and Davis Duo.

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    Re: Strong Safety

    If the discussion was still open, I think this closes it...

    USC coach Pete Carroll said Monday that All-American safety Taylor Mays, cornerback Josh Pinkard and tailback C.J. Gable would return next season.

    All three were eligible for the NFL draft and considered turning pro following the Rose Bowl.

    Mays, who is considered a top-20 pick, said after the Rose Bowl he was leaning toward going pro and was considered the most likely USC underclassman to depart.

    "They are all returning," Carroll said.

    In a sign that he would return, Mays just moved into an apartment with USC teammate Will Harris last weekend. Sources said he enjoyed college life and wanted to spend another year at USC before experiencing the demands of the NFL.

    Mays, a three-time All-American, could not be reached for comment.

    "At the beginning of the season, I wanted to leave," Mays said after USC defeated Penn State in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. "Halfway through, it was 50-50. Now, if I do leave, it feels like a perfect way to go if I leave. That would be the way to do it."

    That changed in the past 10 days, sources said, when Mays realized the benefits of staying in school.

    "He doesn't have the pressure here that he would in the NFL and he likes being with his friends," a source said.
    Mays, Pinkard, Gable to stay at USC in 2009 - LA Daily News

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    Re: Strong Safety

    Well that's crappy. Now we have to play him again. It's a good thing Pryor can only throw five yard passes.

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    Re: Strong Safety

    Thats fortunate, maybe next year we will be picking in the 10-20 range so we can grab him in a reasonable spot next year.

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