Call me crazy, but I like the fit of Taylor Mays in the Bengals defense. As I told a friend earlier tonight, he’s a younger, faster version of Roy Williams and Williams performed pretty well (when healthy) in Mike Zimmer’s defense.
The scouting reports on Mays have been recycled and regurgitated many times by now. Mays is a physically imposing safety (6’3″, 230 pounds) with great speed who struggles at times in coverage. But in the run-first AFC North, I think Mays could flourish. If he does have to cover, he’ll often be facing blocking-type tight ends or receivers who might be slowed by cold weather. He’s a long way away from the NFC West, and that could be a good thing.
The draft pick exchanged for Mays isn’t known yet, but it’s believed to be a later one, making it well worth the transaction. Mays played well at USC and was drafted in the second round. He may have struggled a bit in his first year, but most rookies do.
I have complete confidence in Mike Zimmer maximizing Mays’ ability. Zimmer kept the Bengals’ defense in the top half of the league despite all their injuries last year (they were 15th), proving he’s the NFL equivalent of American Pickers, finding treasure where others see trash.
Overall, I think it’s a good marriage of player and coaches and I’m excited to see what happens next.
Which, as a Bengals fan, I can’t say very often