One of Buffalo’s Biggest Draft Busts Returns to Prove His Worth

Truthfully, I never liked the pick to begin with.  I doubt there are many out there who did.

Rewinding back to the 2009 NFL Draft, from the moment that ESPN showed then Penn State DE/LB Aaron Maybin on the telephone moments before Buffalo made the selection at No.11,  I became extremely disappointed.  Maybin was viewed as a project, a player who wouldn’t make an impact and reach his potential for a two or three seasons down the road.  He would’ve been a good selection for teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh, two well established defensive units.  With names like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison, you can afford to draft a player like Maybin.  You can be patient with him, allow him to learn the ins and outs as a linebacker or rush end.  With the Bills floundering in another losing season and another year left out of the playoffs, you need players who can contribute right away, get on the field and play every Sunday.

But, the Bills took Maybin and it became a disaster.  He held out that summer for nearly 30 days.  He finished his rookie season in 2009 with only nine tackles.  Maybin’s career in Buffalo lasted just 27 games.  The Bills released Maybin during the preseason, who was later picked up by the New York Jets.  The Jets signed him, cut him, but then re-signed him Sept. 27.  Maybin’s most memorable play while with the Bills?  Being whistled for an off-sides penalty during an onsides kick the Bills recovered in the second game at home against New England late in the season.  Buffalo trailed 17-10, executed the onsides kick, recovered it only to have it wiped away because Maybin was offsides.  The Patriots won 17-10.

Going back to draft day afternoon in 2009, I thought the Bills should’ve made over their linebacking unit.  A pair of USC linebackers, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews, would’ve been a good place to begin.  I had no problem with the Bills going the way of a defensive end/rush linebacker.  Personally, I like Brian Orakpo.  I would’ve been happy to settle for Malcom Jenkins.  With one of the worst offensive lines in football, I wanted Michael Oher. 

But, as they say, it is what it is.  And what it was, was extremely forgettable.  Maybin never produced, never lived up to hype.  It became crystal clear, with the Bills marred in an 0-8 start to the 2010 season and with Maybin nowhere to be found and unable to get on the field for a losing team, he wasn’t destined to be in Buffalo very long.  Maybe he didn’t fit Chan Gailey’s scheme.  Maybe he didn’t work hard enough during the offseason, OTAs, workouts or the preseason to warrant more than seven snaps a game during his two seasons with the Bills.

Now it appears that Maybin has found a bit of home with the Jets.  He leads the Jets with three sacks, which happen to be three more than he had with the Bills which further rubs everyone associated with the Bills the wrong way.  Perhaps it would be different if he were to catch on with a team outside of Buffalo’s division and produce.  But to do it for one of Buffalo’s biggest rivals makes that taste in their mouth much worse. 

You can bet that the emotions will be running high in a little while.  Maybin comes back to where he’s been labeled a bust and is arguably one of the Bills’ biggest draft busts in franchise history.  He’ll be extra amped up to prove to his former employer what they lost and what he’s truly capable of.  On the flip side, you can believe that Buffalo’s offensive line will be extra juiced to keep Maybin away from Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Buffalo has allowed only nine sacks, third fewest allowed in the NFL. 


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