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Taylor Mays hurting after draft tumble

4/24/2010

The NFL draft teaches hard lessons. Two USC players are learning that now: Taylor Mays and Everson Griffen.

Mays would have been a first-round pick last year. I know folks believe his perceived weaknesses would have revealed themselves on filmInsider then just as they did this season. But the 2008 USC pass defense was simply extraordinary in large part because of Mays playing an intimidating and impenetrable center field.

So Mays blew it by coming back for his senior season. And he now knows this.

As for you, San Francisco 49ers fans: Didn't you guys do fairly well a few years back with another hard-hitting former USC safety? I got a $5 bill right here that says Mays is going to become an outstanding NFL safety.

Griffen is another story: First-round talent with questions about his attitude and work ethic. (Keep this in mind about Mays: his work ethic couldn't be any better).

Who would have thought that Washington's Daniel Te'o-Nesheim would go before Griffen? Te'o-Nesheim is superior to Griffen in only one way but its a critical one: motor. Griffen's is questionable, Te'o-Nesheim's is not.

The lesson here is that being good isn't enough. The NFL cares about the entire package. And NFL teams don't want players who aren't self-starters, who don't motivate themselves.

Take note incoming five-star recruits.

Here are the Pac-10 picks to this point (11:15 a.m. ET ).

First round

DE Tyson Alualu, California, Jacksonville (10)

RB Jahvid Best, California, Detroit (30)

Second round

DT Brian Price, UCLA, Tampa (35)

S T.J. Ward, Oregon, Cleveland (38)

TE Rob Gronkowski, Arizona, New England (42)

S Taylor Mays, USC, San Francisco (49)

RB Toby Gerhart, Stanford, Minnesota (51)

OT Charles Brown, USC, New Orleans (64)

Third round

TE Ed Dickson, Oregon, Baltimore (70)

WR Damian Williams, USC, Tennessee (77)

LB Donald Butler, Washington, San Diego (79)

DT Earl Mitchell, Arizona, Houston (81)

DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Washington, Philadelphia (86)

OG Shawn Lauvao, Arizona State, Cleveland (92)

CB Kevin Thomas, USC, Indianapolis (94)

Fourth round

DE Everson Griffin, USC, Minnesota (100)

CB Alterraun Verner, UCLA, Tennessee (104)

CB Walter Thurmond, Oregon, Seattle (111)

RB Joe McKnight, USC, New York Jets (112)