From draft bust to franchise linebacker, that's the dramatic transformation fourth-year linebacker Aaron Maybin has made over the past two years. Taken with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Maybin registered zero sacks in two seasons with the Buffalo Bills before joining the New York Jets prior to the start of the 2011 season. Maybin led the Jets with six sacks during a breakout campaign, silencing his critics and forcing New York to place the franchise-tag on its burgeoning young star this offseason.
With the Jets set to take on Maybin's former team Sunday, the former Penn St. standout isn't overlooking this year's Bills squad.
"Oh, very much so, and that definitely can't be understated, how far Buffalo's team has come over the past few years," admitted Maybin of Buffalo's ascension in the AFC. "With me, starting out there and progressing, I've kind of been able to see that over the past few years. They definitely have talent on both sides of the ball especially, defensively now with the recent acquisitions that they've made in the offseason."
One of Buffalo's key offseason acquisitions, defensive end Mario Williams, is widely regarded as the NFL's most feared pass rusher and could potentially wreak havoc on the Jets struggling offensive line. In preparation for Sunday's game, Maybin posed as Williams on the practice field this week to give the Jets offense an idea of the elite speed they'll be up against.
"I'm pretty much faster than him," quipped Maybin. "For him, somebody that's 300 pounds, to be able to move at that speed, is pretty ridiculous. It's hard to really simulate that size moving at that speed."
The Jets have nabbed headlines across the country since acquiring Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow back in mid-March. With football pundits shoveling dirt on New York's season before it gets underway, Maybin is spearheading the Jets' quest for a postseason berth.
"We've had a long offseason, there's been a lot said, a lot of people have tried to lump us into one category or the other, admitted Maybin of the Jets' media attention. "But this is finally the chance that we get to go out there as a team and prove exactly who we are."