Carroll's choice of Thomas not lost on Mays, who's drafted by 49ers

RENTON, Wash. -- Friends and fans in Seattle weren't the only ones to notice that Pete Carroll didn't draft hometown hero Taylor Mays for the Seahawks.

"I definitely thought from the relationship that we have -- from the things that he had told me about what I needed to be, what the draft process is, things that I needed to do -- I felt he told me the complete opposite of the actions that he took, which was definitely alarming," Mays said Friday of his former coach at USC while on a conference call after the San Francisco 49ers chose him in the second round of the NFL draft.

Mays must make plays

Mike Mayock: Taylor Mays is such an outstanding athlete. My question with him is his ability to make plays. I think that's the thing that hurt him throughout the entire evaluation process. He's not a guy you drop down into the slot to cover man-to-man. He's a zone defender or in-the-box safety. He'll step in right away, and with Dashon Goldson in there, the 49ers' secondary is now better.

Not only was the former star at Seattle's O'Dea High School miffed Carroll didn't draft him, Mays was further frustrated that the Seahawks instead drafted Texas safety Earl Thomas -- who is younger, less experienced and less familiar to Carroll.

"There were things he told me I needed to do as a football player versus the actions he took and who he took as a safety," Mays said. "I understand it's a business, but with it being a business, honesty is all I'm asking for."

The 49ers took Mays, 22, with the 49th overall pick Friday and followed that up with their third-round selection of Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman.

Mays started all but two games in his career for the Trojans and Carroll. The safety was an All-American at USC, though some believed he had a lackluster 2009 season.

Mays was a 2005 high school All-American and All-State star at O'Dea. He also was a two-time state sprint champion in track.

His dad, Stafford Mays, was a defensive lineman who played at Washington in 1978 and '79, then in the NFL for the St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings from 1980 to '88.

Carroll said he doesn't blame Mays for being mad at him, that his "heart sunk when he didn't get picked earlier." Carroll said he hasn't talked to his former player, but that one of the members of his Seahawks coaching staff did Friday.

"First off, I love Taylor. I love the player that he is," Carroll said Friday night. "We were thinking we had a terrific chance to get him somewhere. We didn't think Earl was going to get to us. So we jumped to that opportunity there. Earl is an incredible player.

"I'd like to pick all my guys, but it just didn't work out. And unfortunately for Taylor, it was a hard day for him. His expectations were very, very high. And mine, too. So I feel for him."

Carroll laughed and said he knows Mays will carry a chip on his shoulder, especially into the two NFC West games each season between San Francisco and Seattle.

"He's a remarkably competitive guy, and prideful ... (but) he might want to wait a couple days before he talks to me," Carroll said with a wry smile. "Nah, I love him to death. I know how competitive he is. And actually I don't blame him for being (angry). I would probably be surprised if it was something other than that."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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