The 2009 NFL Draft for the Buffalo Bills will not be remembered by the fact that they got three starters in the first two rounds in Eric Wood, Jairus Byrd and Andy Levitre. No, that draft class -- among all others in the Bills' illustrious recent drafting patterns -- will be remembered by one word that represents the worst draft pick the organization has ever made.
I can hear that one word just making each and every Bills fan cringe at just the thought of the man that it represents in a rather comical way.
On Monday afternoon, the Buffalo Bills officially parted ways with 2009 first round draft pick Aaron Maybin. The man who put the likes of Mike Williams, Erik Flowers and all the rest to shame.
Let's remember the man that inspired Baltimore artist Caddy Da Don to relinquish a completely premature rap song about Maybin's on-the-field prowess as a professional football player.
We'll start alllllllllll the way back to the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine. Maybin showed up to Indianapolis 'beefed up' to 250 pounds, up from his Penn State playing weight of 230. Regardless of Maybin only being successful in one season, and having the majority of his success against weaker competition, Dick Jauron and company were sold on what Maybin could do on the field.
Maybin becomes the 11th overall draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, going ahead of the likes of fellow pass-rushers Brian Orakpo and Clay Matthews. With Jason Peters recently traded away to Philadelphia, the Bills had an extreme need at left tackle as well. But instead, the team chose Maybin over Baltimore's blind side protector Michael Oher.
Fast forward to the start of training camp in 2009. Maybin decided that he needed to hold out and take the Bills for as much as he could. This also ended up being the best thing he's ever done in professional football. Maybin held out of 24 practices, three preseason games -- a total of four weeks before finally signing his deal that guaranteed $15 million dollars over the course of the five-year contract.
As you would expect, the lengthy holdout really ruined any chance he had at seeing the field in his first season in Buffalo. He managed to dress all 16 games for the team, racking up a career high 18 tackles (11 solo) and he even forced a career high one fumble. My personal favorite memory from the 2009 season was watching him get swallowed up by Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson each and every time he was out there against the run in Toronto.
Out with the Jauron, and in with Buddy Nix, Chan Gailey and the rest of the new coaching staff. Maybin made the ideal switch to a 3-4 outside linebacker -- which many thought was his ideal position -- for the 2010 season.
In training camp that year, Maybin wanted to shout out a declaration of "I'M HERE!" to his fellow teammates. So during a normal morning session in shoulder pads and shorts, where the focus is to not let guys hit the ground, Maybin pulled off this award-winning maneuver:
Fred Jackson ran the ball to the right hand side, and Maybin took it upon himself to lower his shoulder and put all 235 pounds of himself in to Jackson, knocking him hard to the ground. Seemingly with pent up aggression towards Maybin, a fight ensued on the field with Geoff Hangartner being the one to go after the outside linebacker. Not only that, but it sounded like Eric Wood shouted some not so nice things, perhaps inferring that Maybin were overpaid. How dare he.
"You have no problem with that," Maybin said. "Offensive players always look out for each other, and after it happened there were defensive guys looking out for us. That's just the nature of the game, you're going to have guys stick up for each other, and truthfully that's what you need."
Sure, and you also need common sense to not flatline your starting running back in one of the team's first practices.
This takes us to the 2010 NFL Preseason, where Maybin had a career year. He managed to bring down the quarterback once, something that eluded him throughout his NFL regular season career with the Bills. Not only that, but against the Indianapolis Colts fourth-team quarterback Tom Brandstater, the Indy QB took off with under two minutes to play for a fifteen yard run. Maybin took exception to this, knocked over the quarterback, and proceeded to stand over Brandstater and talk trash to him as he was trying to stand up.
Oh yeah, did I mention they were up by 13 points? In a preseason game?
That takes us to the 2010 regular season. Maybin got in the doghouse for not being able to play on special teams, and for losing his spot on the depth chart to sixth round pick Arthur Moats and undrafted free agent Antonio Coleman. Maybin rotted on the inactive list for five straight weeks in 2010, until injuries catapulted him back in to the jersey wearing mold he grew accustomed to in 2009.
In 11 games, Maybin got the only start of his career. He managed six tackles through those 11 games, but still that regular season sack still had not found its way to Maybin's stat line. Although to give him credit, a holding call by Pittsburgh left tackle Jonathan Scott is the only thing that prevented Maybin from getting his first career sack. It should of been his, I'll admit it.
On goes another offseason, and Maybin's weight drifted to an all-time low. He weighed in at St. John Fisher College at 228 pounds, rivaling his size of his college days. He weighed only three pounds heavier than kicker Rian Lindell, and only seven pounds heavier than the lanky wide receiver David Nelson.
Another thing to his credit, Maybin gave it his all in practice. He wanted to try and get the most out of his reps with a full effort. That wasn't his problem. It was the implementation of actual defensive philosophies and how to use his body that separated him from being a consistent player.
He was trying to do all the right things. Soaking up as much as he could from the likes of Shawne Merriman and Darryl Talley. But it just didn't matter.
That first preseason game on Saturday against Chicago was the beginning of the end. The Bills tried Maybin out at special teams, and at outside linebacker, but nothing stuck.
But one thing that did stand out probably will be the play most Bills fans remember him by. Maybin, on a pass-rushing attempt, got completely blown up by Chicago running back Marion Barber. Barber weighs ten pounds less than the Bills former outside linebacker.
So now with a brand new week of preparation to ensue, trying to get ready for Denver on Saturday night, the Buffalo Bills have elected to cut Aaron Maybin. It was a smart move, it was a necessary move, and a move that will draw applause from the fans. He was not a Nix/Gailey draft pick, but the team gave him a year and change to see if he had anything that could contribute to this roster.
The answer to that query is no, and the Bills cut him.
So with all that said, and the obituary for the former first round pick being written, the last thing I'll leave you with is that rap song from Caddy Da Don. Farewell, Mayhem. You won't be missed.