Aaron Maybin never really fit in with the Buffalo Bills. He was drafted No. 11 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft, then held out all of training camp. But when Maybin did finally hit the field for Buffalo, he did not disappoint.
Maybin never started a game in Buffalo, never recorded a sack. He had 15 career tackles and was inactive for a good portion of the 2010 season. So the Bills gave up on Maybin early and found no use for him on their squad.
However, Gang Green and Rex Ryan found use for the speedster out of Penn State. After initially getting cut, Maybin was signed back to New York. And apparently, Maybin does know how to sack a quarterback.
Maybin actually took his opportunity with the Jets and ran with it. Without starting a single game, Maybin led the team with six sacks. That's more sacks than David Harris, Calvin Pace and Bart Scott.
He even forced four fumbles, most of them coming on strip-sacks. So while he only was active for 13 games, he was a very valuable role player.
Ryan knows that Maybin is just starting to scratch the surface. He is starting to play like the Bills anticipated coming off of college. But there is no way Maybin is content with being a pass rush specialist. How could he be?
Obviously, Maybin wants to be a bigger factor. He wants to be a three down linebacker in New York.
But size has always been a knock on Maybin. Bulking up would provide Maybin with more of a linebacker frame. He also needs to be able to stop the run. If he continues to be such a one-dimensional player, his productivity will decrease.
The Jets are all about speed, something Maybin has a lot of for a linebacker. But he will have to be more of a well-rounded player if he hopes to crack the Jets' starting lineup. Quinton Coples was drafted by the Jets in the first round of the 2012 draft. He's another player for Maybin to compete against, another player in Maybin's way to a spot in the starting lineup.
Maybe Maybin proves the Bills right and shows that 2011 was a fluke. Maybe he proves that 2011 was exactly right, that he is nothing more or less than a decent pass rusher—not a bad gig in the NFL.
Or maybe Maybin shows that 2011 was the start of something bigger. Maybe the kid is truly a gamer and can be the force that the Bills thought they were drafting. He had quality performances last year and got to the quarterback on a consistent basis.
So Maybin has finally shown that he can play with the big boys that make up the NFL. But Jets defense is full of quick plays and powerful hits. Can Maybin ever develop into more than a third down pass rusher? Can he stay on the field longer and make more plays?
Let his play speak for itself in 2012.