Assessing Taylor Mays' time in the 40

March, 2, 2010
3/02/10
1:01
PM ET
USC safety Taylor Mays covered 40 yards in 4.43 seconds, according to NFL Network.

Initial reports suggested Mays might have finished in only 4.24 seconds, creating quite a buzz. It's pretty amazing that a 4.43-second time for a safety can seem like a letdown.

Mays' time is topical here because at least three NFC West teams could be in the market for a safety in the draft.

The Seahawks have Deon Grant, who turns 31 this month, and the improving Jordan Babineaux. The Cardinals could lose Antrel Rolle. The 49ers could use a safety to pair with Dashon Goldson. Even the Rams could use help at the position, to the extent that they need athletes on defense.

Speed matters, particularly when it comes to evaluating safeties early in the draft. But some of the better players at the position -- Darren Sharper comes to mind -- use experience and moxie to anticipate plays. Athleticism is only part of the equation, particularly at that position.

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