Departing Trojan safety Taylor Mays was the talk of the town as the NFL combine came to a close Tuesday with the defensive back workouts.
When Mays, who had already impressed with top-five performances among defensive backs in the bench press (24 reps of 225 pounds) and vertical leap (41 inches), came to the line for his first 40-yard dash of the day expectations were high.
However, when his recorded unofficial time of 4.24 seconds was announced, commentators and scouts were surprised to say the least. Mays’s unofficial time was good enough to tie the fastest 40-yard dash time in the past decade, equaling former East Carolina running back Chris Johnson’s time in 2008.
Mays would step to the line again, this time running the course in an unofficial 4.34 seconds, which was also impressive.
Mays’s official time in the dash, however, was 4.43 seconds (fastest among the day’s attempts) showcasing the stark difference between the terms “official” and “unofficial.”
The combine takes the slower of the two numbers, but even then the contrast between either of Mays’s two runs — although seemingly small — have a great impact on how scouts will view the safety. Mays is still expected to be drafted in the first round of April’s NFL Draft, but an official 4.24 would have blown scouts away and possibly skyrocketed Mays up draft boards around the country.
May’s former teammate cornerback Kevin Thomas ran a 4.48 second dash, good enough for seventh among defensive backs.