The fun of the NFL Draft is that it is an inexact science. If every pick panned out, then there wouldn't be such a big deal about analyzing a prospect's boom or bust potential. You would simply draft based on need and know that you were going to get an NFL caliber player. Good thing it isn't that simple, or we would have less to talk about.
Personally, after you have missed the playoffs for what seems like forever (10 years to be exact), you start wondering about the what could have been. An example of this would be the classic "Ngata or Whitner" debates, which always leads to passionate conversation. This, in turn, brings us to today's question posed to the roundtable:
Is this Aaron Maybin's make or break year? Answers after the jump...
This type of question spans always causes many different reactions. I start with a gloomier approach:
Aaron Maybin as a player is not in a make or break season, but I do feel that if he under performs that his opportunity will continue to diminish and he could simply become irrelevant. Is that justified? No, but this new regime did not draft Maybin and may have a different perspective on his upside and talent. He is young and I believe talented but if he doesn't pick up the new system and perform adequately he could go from starter to reserve to special teamer very quickly. Vernon Gholston anyone?
Der Jaeger takes the positive road:
Anyone who argues that Maybin is already a bust isn't paying attention to history. Check these first year sack totals out:
Trent Cole: 5
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila: 1.5
Aaron Kampman: 0.5
Patrick Kerney: 2.5
Leonard Little: 0.5
Robert Mathis: 3.5
Michael Strahan: 1
Jason Taylor: 5
Justin Tuck: 1
Osi Umenyiora: 1
Kyle Vanden Bosch: 0.5
Mario Williams: 4.5
There's some pretty good pass rushers on that list. Here's the point: football fans are becoming like sitcom watchers. We want the point in 30 minutes or less, and it better be good. Yet, the NFL has become increasingly more complex schematically, and we want players to adjust faster?
Buffalo fans watch Brian Orakpo have a great rookie year, and wonder why Buffalo didn't draft him. That's hindsight, and that's unfair to Maybin. Also, remember Mike Croel? Croel was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1991, recording 10 sacks. And then..... not much else.
So don't give up on Maybin, even if he's not good this year. He's changing positions, so I won't expect a ton. In his third year, if he's still doing nothing, then we've got a conversation.
Phew. That's better. Ron from NM reminds us that Maybin won't get a free pass forever:
Maybin is making a postion switch. That alone will be enough to ensure him a third year (second as OLB) with the Bills. If Maybin doesn't make some kind of contribution this season my guess is that CHIX brings in an OLB to compete with him (real competition, not just a guy to push Maybin) in 2011.
Reasonable and sound. Kurupt also echos similar sentiments:
This is most definitely not a make or break year for Maybin. That'll be 2011 if he totally underwhelms again. With the new staff and switch to the 3-4, I think Maybin almost gets another year of little to no expectations. However, he does need to show something this year and can't be totally useless again. He'll be a Bill after this year anyhow, it'll just be a matter of whether the Bills bring in stiff competition for his playing time. For the Bills' sake, they absolutely need him to progress and show some improvement this year.
However, kaisertown gives us a sharp dose of reality when thinking about Maybin's potential:
Aaron Maybin is still the youngest guy on the team, so it's tough to call this a make or break year. But Maybin does need to show improvement this season. Players don't come into the league as first rounders, do nothing for two years, and then grow into great players. It just doesn't happen. He doesn't need to be a great player yet, but he needs to make an impact this year or it's very likely he's a huge bust.
MattRichWarren pulls it back in again reminding us of everyone's favorite bust:
This is not a make or break year for Aaron Maybin. It's not like he's going to be cut if he has a bad season. It's a pretty important off-season and he'll likely be a starter on opening day but I don't think you can say make or break. Even JaMarcus Russell got three seasons.
Brian keeps it level headed and reminds us that Maybin is staying put:
I don't think you can say any 22-year-old kid is entering a make-or-break season. It's necessary for Maybin to improve, but it's not like he's facing a produce-or-find-new-employers situation.
I don't think that he needs to bust out and become All Pro or anything, but I think he needs to show something. He needs to prove that he is making strides and getting better.
And Jeff Winters reminds us that good things come to those who wait:
No, it’s not his make or break year. Eric Moulds and his non-productive first two years taught me that draft picks need time to develop. Maybin does have a chance to make an impact this year because he’ll see a lot of playing time as the rush linebacker in our 3-4, and our defense certainly suits his skill set. Patience with draft picks is something that fans have forgotten the last 10 years or so, but there’s a reason smart football guys like Bill Parcells and Bill Walsh always preached that you could only fully evaluate rookies after three years.
The Aaron Maybin question is going to be a focal point as his development continues especially if others who were selected below him out perform him. Inexact science, remember?
So have at it, Bills fans. Where does Aaron Maybin stand from your perspective?