49ers trade Mays to Bengals for draft pick

49ers trade Mays to Bengals for draft pick
August 23, 2011, 12:07 am
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
Taylor Mays was on the practice field Monday afternoon for the final time with the 49ers.Several hours later, the 49ers dealt Mays to the Cincinnati Bengals for an undisclosed draft choice, ESPN reported. Mays becomes the third player the Bengals acquired this offseason from the 49ers. The Bengals signed cornerback Nate Clements and outside linebacker Manny Lawson in free-agency.It has been clear for more than two weeks that Mays did not figure into the 49ers' plans this season.The 49ers on Aug. 4 sent an email to the other 31 NFL teams, announcing that Mays was available in a trade after the club reached a contract agreement with veteran safety Donte Whitner. Coincidentally, Whitner has agreed to terms with the Bengals before changing his mind and singing with the 49ers.
He played only the final series on defense of the 49ers' exhibition game on Saturday night agains the Raiders. On Monday, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio did not mention Mays' name when he noted, "We feel like we've got five safeties there that can play in the NFL."Whitner, Dashon Goldson,Reggie Smith, Madieu Williams and C.J. Spillman ranked ahead of Mays on the 49ers' depth chart.Mays was the No. 49 overall pick in the draft last year. Then-coach Mike Singletary was Mays' biggest advocate in the organization. Mays was one of the most-discussed athletes at the NFL scouting combine in 2010.At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, the former USC player was initially clocked at a blazing 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash. An adjustment was made to the time, officially giving him a controversial time of 4.43 seconds.While with the 49ers, Mays' straight-line speed was never questions. However, coaches did not believe he had the ability to change direction effectively to put himself in position to make plays against NFL receivers.Mays started six games as a rookie after veteran safety Michael Lewis quit the team. But his play time diminished significant week after week until the 49ers opted to start Reggie Smith for the final seven games of the season.Mays best play came in his first start -- but it was on special teams. He recovered a punt blocked by teammate Dominique Zeigler in the end zone and got both feet in-bounds for a touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons.