It's tough to remember a player more universally despised by the Buffalo Bills' fan base than 2009 first-round pick Aaron Maybin. Released after just over two years on the roster, Maybin never recorded a sack with Buffalo and, fair or not, became the symbol of the team's recent drafting failures - particularly those of Dick Jauron and Tom Modrak.
As most of you know, however, Maybin latched on with this week's opponent, the New York Jets. I have not been overly surprised by his renaissance, but most Bills fans are; in four games working for Rex Ryan, Maybin has recorded three sacks and three forced fumbles in limited playing time.
Eric Wood - drafted in the first round with Maybin, and who famously got into a fight with his draft classmate at a training camp practice last summer - is already telling reporters he'd be irritated if Maybin recorded a sack on Sunday. Guess it's not just fans that get heated when recalling the Maybin era.
John Butchko of GangGreenNation.com has watched Maybin carefully over the past month, and has come to a few conclusions about the Jets' go-to pass rusher. First, he believes that Maybin was simply a case of a player being over-drafted:
I think he is the kind of guy who is terrible value if you invest a high draft pick in him and expect him to be an elite player. He is pretty good value if you can get him for cheap and use him situationally.
He also points out that Maybin's three sacks have not all been of a dominant quality, but points out that his good qualities shone through on each play.
Now of the three sacks, two were coverage sacks and the other only required him to get off a cut block thrown by a running back. The thing is, New York's other pass rushers are so ineffective, this adds a different dimension. I cannot count the number of times in the past two years before Maybin arrived a quarterback sat back all day while the Jets never got pressure - even after initial coverage held. His closing speed makes a difference. He also has been good swatting the ball out when it has been exposed.
Finally, I asked Butchko if we could expect to see Maybin on the field for more than just passing situations on Sunday.
He has not played much against the run. He has mainly come in on obvious passing downs. Jamaal Westerman and Josh Mauga have played in place of Bryan Thomas on first and second down. Neither guy has impressed much. Maybin could see some more time if this continues, but I am not sure how long of a look he will get. He is a guy who struggles to get off blocks. Where he has made a difference has been as a pass rusher.