The New York Jets are close to giving former Buffalo Bills first-round bust Aaron Maybin a second chance to prove he belongs in the NFL, just weeks after releasing one of their own draft busts in Vernon Gholston.
Jets management were nearing an agreement with Maybin on Wednesday morning. This comes just two days after the Bills sent their 2009 first-round pick packing.
Buffalo took a chance on Maybin coming out Penn State, but the slimmed-down pass-rusher never could get his feet underneath him during his first two seasons.
Maybin, the 11th overall pick in 2009, played in all 16 games his rookie season and recorded 18 tackles with a forced fumble. But Maybin failed to record a sack and made few impact plays, if any.
Then, last season, Maybin fought through injuries but was again a ghost for the Bills' struggling defense. Maybin didn't record a sack for the second consecutive season, and when Bills management failed to see any improvement from him in camp and the preseason, it was time for the two sides to go their separate ways.
That story should sound familiar to Rex Ryan and the Jets, who couldn't seem to get anything from Gholston either. A sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft, Gholston was expected to be a feared pass-rusher as a linebacker in the Jets 3-4 defense.
Which player has a better chance of making an impact with their new team?
But he struggled mightily with the transition, and saw limited playing time in each of his first three seasons. In 45 career games with the Jets, Gholston recorded just 42 tackles without registering a sack.
Ryan and the Jets gave Gholston ample opportunity to show them something but Gholston never delivered. He was released in early March before signing with the Chicago Bears once the lockout was lifted.
The musical chairs that Ryan has done with these two begs the question: which team—the Bills or Jets—got hosed most by their first-round busts?
At this point in their careers, you could make a solid case for either. Missing out on such high picks can be franchise-crippling.
Gholston might have a slight edge based on where he was drafted. By failing with that fifth overall pick, the Jets missed out on the likes of Ryan Clady and Jered Mayo in the '08 draft.
But the Bills also missed out on some big names in '09, including Clay Matthews and Brian Orakpo. As is the case with any draft bust, the hindsight is 20/20.
However, I think the Jets are going to be the ones who got the rawest end of the their draft bust.
Not only did they give Gholston three solid years to prove himself, but I think he might just make an impact with his new team, the Chicago Bears.
Gholston never played standing up at Ohio State, and he obviously struggled making that transition into a 3-4 defense in New York.
The Bears are going to try their hand at making him a 4-3 defensive end only, and that might help Gholston revive his NFL career. He'll also be under the tutelage of Bears defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, who certainly has the respect of his peers around the league at that position.
And really, Gholston has a much higher chance of making the team.
Maybin will be way behind the eight ball as he arrives at Jets camp. Rarely do players signed at this point of training camp and preseason make the 53-man roster.
Gholston, on the other hand, has been in camp working with the Bears and Marinelli. He's been given a fair chance at making their roster.
In addition, the Bears just lost defensive end Corey Wotten to injury in their first preseason game, which means Gholston is going to get a long look throughout this preseason. It's now or never for him.
Overall, both teams were hosed by taking their respective first-round busts. But if Gholston can make something of himself in Chicago, the wound from failing with him will hurt even more for the Jets. I'm not giving Maybin that same chance in New York.