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PFF: Secret Superstar, Aaron Maybin


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ecret Superstar: Aaron Maybin, OLB, New York Jets

May 24th, 2012 | Author: Sam Monson

2011ssmaybin-150x150.jpgIf there was a sentence 12 months ago I was pretty certain I wouldn’t be uttering, it’s that Aaron Maybin is anybody’s Secret Superstar. That is how things can change in the NFL these days.

Usually the players we highlight in the Secret Superstar series ply their trade well below the radar, producing unfairly anonymous seasons while other guys get all the name recognition and praise. Maybin isn’t like that, because he has serious name recognition.

Aaron Maybin is just 24 years old, and yet this time last year he was looking like a colossal draft bust. Just another in a line of misses by the Buffalo Bills, with all anybody knowing about him that he hadn’t shown a thing in the NFL. Now he is coming off an impressive season for the Jets, and is young enough to once again be a promising young star-in-the-making.

Earning the ‘Bust’ Tag

The Bills were crying out for a pass rusher in the 2009 draft, and selected Aaron Maybin 11th overall. The first edge rusher taken–ahead of players like Brian Orakpo and Clay Matthews III–the Bills hoped that the Penn State product’s upside would counter his inexperience and need for development.

Maybin really had only one season of production at Penn State, but it was a season that earned him All-American honors as well as a slew of other awards and recognitions. As a pass rusher he demonstrated a rare first step and burst that had to get NFL coaches excited about his prospects at the next level. Weighing anywhere from 235 to 250lbs, he was always an undersized player, and never going to be an all-around force, but in a league becoming ever more specialized, being purely a devastating pass rusher is more than enough to earn you a place on most teams.

Maybe the Bills thought they could turn Maybin into a complete player with time, but they likely wouldn’t have cared if they could rely on his pass rush productivity and used him purely situationally. In essence, they were expecting Maybin to be their version of Aldon Smith, and maybe more in time. It never happened.

He finished his Buffalo career after just two seasons and only 332 snaps without a single sack. More troubling, though, was that he notched just two knockdowns and nine more total pressures; displaying none of the explosive first step that made him such an enticing prospect. He looked like just another player who thought he had made it simply by reaching the NFL and stopped trying to improve. The Bills quickly tired of trying to find the talent and cast him aside four months after his 23rd birthday.

Redemption 385 Miles Away

Players can be thrown on the scrap heap incredibly quickly in a cutthroat business that is the NFL, especially if they show a lack of desire or a poor attitude. But young players with physical attributes that can’t be taught will always get a second chance somewhere. The New York Jets came calling and signed Maybin just two days after he was waived by the Bills and, though they waived him in early September of 2011, they eventually re-signed him before the end of the month and he has stuck since.

Rex Ryan loves players with ability, and he is one of the league’s best at putting his players in situations to succeed. It’s doubtless that this helped Maybin who ended up playing 219 snaps for the Jets in 2011, notching six sacks in the process. The Jets were able to isolate what he does well and turn him loose, with Maybin rushing the passer on 185 of those snaps, and having very little to do with the run game or coverage.

Though the Jets made it easy for him, Maybin finally showed the burst and speed around the edge that was never on display in Buffalo. He finally put down on NFL tape what scouts had seen on his college tape, and he finished the season with a +7.5 pass-rushing grade which, from under 200 snaps rushing the passer, is an impressive achievement.

His sack total of six was enough to lead the Jets last season, but Maybin also showed a knack for the Holy Grail play of pass rushers, the strip-sack. His first two career sacks were both of this variety, and he ended the season having forced five fumbles in addition to his sacks. In short, Maybin had become a playmaker for a team in desperate need of a pass rush.

Back on the Development Train

Last season was a pretty good rookie season from Maybin; the only problem for him is that it was his third season in the NFL. Going into 2012 and beyond, he needs to show that 2011 wasn’t a fluke, and that’s what he should have been bringing to the table from the outset of his career. At his age he was better placed than most to be able to write off his first two seasons in the league, but he needs to continue to produce now, and to carve himself a larger role in the Jets’ defense.

The good news is that the Jets still have a big need for an impact pass rusher, and they can afford to ramp up the number of snaps Maybin sees on the field in the hope that he can continue to grow and maintain his level of play. Last season Calvin Pace was the closest Jet to Maybin in sacks (five), but Pace played over 700 more snaps and rushed the passer almost twice as many times. The Jets need to get Maybin to see more of the field in 2012, and they can treat him as a bonus draft pick.

Already on to his second career at the age of 24, Aaron Maybin had two strikes against him in Buffalo, but he connected with his first pitch in a Jets uniform. He heads into 2012 with a chance to emerge from the wreckage of those first two seasons and show people why Buffalo chose him as high as they did. Aaron Maybin was the Jets’ Secret Superstar in 2011, what can he become in 2012?

Follow @SamMonson on Twitter … and our main feed too: @ProFootbalFocus

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Last season was a pretty good rookie season from Maybin; the only problem for him is that it was his third season in the NFL. Going into 2012 and beyond, he needs to show that 2011 wasn’t a fluke, and that’s what he should have been bringing to the table from the outset of his career. At his age he was better placed than most to be able to write off his first two seasons in the league, but he needs to continue to produce now, and to carve himself a larger role in the Jets’ defense.

Good read, thanks for posting. I'm rooting for this kid big time, especially after reading about everything he was going through at the tail end up there in Buffalo.

I can tell you one thing that isnt a fluke about Maybin, his first step. That dude explodes off the line. I think he'll have a role here with Rex Ryan for a long time. And I'm hoping that with 2 studs on each end, that extra pressure QB's feel will play right into Maybin who seems so fast that he's often behind the QB trying to come back to make the play. Hopefully like Rex said, Coples makes the QB take that step back, right into Maybin.

I have to image with BT winding down his career, Maybin will see more snaps. And what a player he could be if he learned how to play the run.

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Maybin is quick off the line, but he really is a one dimensional pass rusher meaning he tries to beat the tackle to the outside every time. I expect Rex to use him on sides that he overloads with a blitz to try and stretch the blockers and create channels for delayed rushers in those lanes. I don't see Maybin ever being a consistent double digit sack guy, though.

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Good read, thanks for posting. I'm rooting for this kid big time, especially after reading about everything he was going through at the tail end up there in Buffalo.

I can tell you one thing that isnt a fluke about Maybin, his first step. That dude explodes off the line. I think he'll have a role here with Rex Ryan for a long time. And I'm hoping that with 2 studs on each end, that extra pressure QB's feel will play right into Maybin who seems so fast that he's often behind the QB trying to come back to make the play. Hopefully like Rex said, Coples makes the QB take that step back, right into Maybin.

I have to image with BT winding down his career, Maybin will see more snaps. And what a player he could be if he learned how to play the run.

Yep

Coples is going to make Maybin a star. At the end of the season posters will be saying that Coples is a disappointment because he hs 6-8 sacks, but what a stud Maybin is with 14-16.

My only concern with Maybin is that they are having him bulk up, and trying to make him an every down player. That's what the Bills did, and he just couldn't carry the weight. As you sasid his first step, and his playing to the whistle is everything. If he loses that first step because of weight he is what he was when buffalo released him.

Maybe maturing will help him carry the weight

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Maybin is quick off the line, but he really is a one dimensional pass rusher meaning he tries to beat the tackle to the outside every time. I expect Rex to use him on sides that he overloads with a blitz to try and stretch the blockers and create channels for delayed rushers in those lanes. I don't see Maybin ever being a consistent double digit sack guy, though.

How many times last season did Maybin fly by the QB just a yard to deep. This year QB's will be stepping back to avoid the inside pressure from Coples.

BAM

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Good read, thanks for posting. I'm rooting for this kid big time, especially after reading about everything he was going through at the tail end up there in Buffalo.

I can tell you one thing that isnt a fluke about Maybin, his first step. That dude explodes off the line. I think he'll have a role here with Rex Ryan for a long time. And I'm hoping that with 2 studs on each end, that extra pressure QB's feel will play right into Maybin who seems so fast that he's often behind the QB trying to come back to make the play. Hopefully like Rex said, Coples makes the QB take that step back, right into Maybin.

I have to image with BT winding down his career, Maybin will see more snaps. And what a player he could be if he learned how to play the run.

Well said and my thoughts exactly. From the day he showed up, his speed off the ball was really such an impressive thing to watch, and something the Jets have had nothing close to since they sent John Abraham packing over 6 years ago. To see him overrun a QB and come back and drill him for the sack in less time than a single other defender could make it that far upfield is really crazy to think about. Definitely rooting for him to keep on growing, because that was one hell of an improvement we saw last year from his first two years.

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Yep

Coples is going to make Maybin a star. At the end of the season posters will be saying that Coples is a disappointment because he hs 6-8 sacks, but what a stud Maybin is with 14-16.

My only concern with Maybin is that they are having him bulk up, and trying to make him an every down player. That's what the Bills did, and he just couldn't carry the weight. As you sasid his first step, and his playing to the whistle is everything. If he loses that first step because of weight he is what he was when buffalo released him.

Maybe maturing will help him carry the weight

Coples would be disapplonging with 6-8 sacks?

I'm not in on this Maybin stuff yet but he did look fast last year. I do agree he can get double digits behind the sick nasty awesome DL the Jets now have.

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Well said and my thoughts exactly. From the day he showed up, his speed off the ball was really such an impressive thing to watch, and something the Jets have had nothing close to since they sent John Abraham packing over 6 years ago. To see him overrun a QB and come back and drill him for the sack in less time than a single other defender could make it that far upfield is really crazy to think about. Definitely rooting for him to keep on growing, because that was one hell of an improvement we saw last year from his first two years.

I can still remember the first preseason game he appeared. Pretty sure I was posting in a game thread or the chat room and we were all freaking out about how fast Maybin was off the line. He's fun to watch. Really hope he can have a bigger impact this season with a year of familiarity and a full offseason to work with Rex and comp.

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He finally put down on NFL tape what scouts had seen on his college tape, and he finished the season with a +7.5 pass-rushing grade which, from under 200 snaps rushing the passer, is an impressive achievement.

i hate these "on pace" statistics... So if Maybin had Pace's 900 snaps, why he'd have 24 sacks! Wow-WEE!

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This gives Rex a little too much credit. Sorry but it does. Bottom line is the Jets cut Maybin and nobody else picked him up and then the Jets resigned him almost a month later. That's not having an eye for talent, that's just you agreeing with everyone else that he didn't look all that great, and then having a roster spot to fill because Thomas went down.

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Maybin is a beast. I was able to tell when damn near every sack was a sack/fumble. The story on him is that he cant cover to safe his life, but If he's strip sacking QB's at the rate that he does then there's no need for him to be in coverage anyway.

Good article.

Let Landry pretend to cover, and get Maybin more snaps. sh*t, its not like big boy Bart is covering anyone.
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You know what makes laughing hysterically even better? When its accompanied by some salty tears. I can't wait to cry myself through this season.

The type of tears that evaporate before it rolls down your cheek because you're burning up over the absolutely ridiculous play that you just witnessed. Or the tears of frustration after screaming at the television pre-snap predicting with 60% efficiency the dumb a$$ play the offense just called.

This conversation just turned a little sour.

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The type of tears that evaporate before it rolls down your cheek because you're burning up over the absolutely ridiculous play that you just witnessed. Or the tears of frustration after screaming at the television pre-snap predicting with 60% efficiency the dumb a$$ play the offense just called.

This conversation just turned a little sour.

The angst only a fellow Jets fan could know.
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This gives Rex a little too much credit. Sorry but it does. Bottom line is the Jets cut Maybin and nobody else picked him up and then the Jets resigned him almost a month later. That's not having an eye for talent, that's just you agreeing with everyone else that he didn't look all that great, and then having a roster spot to fill because Thomas went down.

h8r

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This gives Rex a little too much credit. Sorry but it does. Bottom line is the Jets cut Maybin and nobody else picked him up and then the Jets resigned him almost a month later. That's not having an eye for talent, that's just you agreeing with everyone else that he didn't look all that great, and then having a roster spot to fill because Thomas went down.

Good point. We cut him and he had a very good preseason. He didnt just come on during the reg. season. This kid made a difference everytime he got on the field.

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This kid made a difference everytime he got on the field.

Meh, not really. He got washed out way more than not. Exceeding expectations really isn't that big of a deal when the expectations were sh*t to begin with. Maybin seems like a good dude and I'm happy for the guy that a light went on for learning how to run fast in another direction than a straight line, but the 1st round tender still makes no sense and the fact that we were targeting Irvin doesn't speak very well for him either. The whole 'in Rex we trust' schtick or good preseason argument really doesn't make any sense for Maybin considering Rex had no qualms about ditching him after a preseason when some posters here would have you believe he looked like Lawrence Taylor. He didn't.

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This gives Rex a little too much credit. Sorry but it does. Bottom line is the Jets cut Maybin and nobody else picked him up and then the Jets resigned him almost a month later. That's not having an eye for talent, that's just you agreeing with everyone else that he didn't look all that great, and then having a roster spot to fill because Thomas went down.

Rex likes players with ability.

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