NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Will the Jets’ latest acquisition turn out to be Vernon Gholston, Part 2?
Coach Rex Ryan confirmed on Wednesday that the Jets had reached an agreement in principle with linebacker Aaron Maybin, pending a physical.
The former Bills first-round draft pick was waived by Buffalo on Monday after two disappointing seasons in which he had no sacks and was never in the team’s starting lineup.
Sound familiar, Jets fans?
Gang Green will give Maybin a second chance to fulfill the potential he showed when the Bills made him the 11th overall pick in 2009.
“We’re going to find out what he brings,” Ryan said. “He wants to be a Jet.”
He’ll likely serve as a backup — if he makes the team — to a solid group of linebackers that includes David Harris, Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace.
The Jets also announced they had waived wide receiver Cordarol Scales and cornerback Richard Taylor.
The move to bring in Maybin is somewhat curious considering the Jets gave up Gholston, their own former first-round pick.
Gholston, like Maybin with the Bills, was expected to add an instant boost to the team’s pass rush, but the former Ohio State star had trouble fitting into the Jets’ system and failed to register a sack in three seasons after being the sixth overall pick in 2008.
He has since signed with the Chicago Bears.
Ryan, who once declared that if he couldn’t turn Gholston into a player no one could, is going to try to do the same with Maybin.
“We’ll see how he does,” Ryan said. “I think he’s got some talent, some pass-rush ability and, if he sticks with our team, he would be a pass rusher for us. We don’t need him to be a starter. We’ve got two excellent starting outside linebackers already. We’ll give him an opportunity to help on defense and help Mike Westhoff on special teams.”
In two short years, Maybin went from promising pass-rusher to the Bills’ latest disappointment. His departure from Buffalo did not come as a surprise, especially after coach Chan Gailey had described the player’s status as “tenuous” in January.
He failed to register a sack or even break into the team’s starting lineup in 27 career games.
“I always spoke high of him when he was in Buffalo,” Ryan said.
Maybin appeared in only 11 games last season, with the low point coming during a midseason stretch when he was listed as an inactive for five straight games.
The linebacker had become such a notable disappointment that Bills fans had begun to refer to him as “Maybe.”
He struggled keeping his weight up, which made it difficult for him to outmuscle opposing offensive linemen. He entered the NFL listed at 250 pounds, but had reported to camp last month listed at 228 pounds.
“That’s the big thing,” Bills general manager Buddy Nix said, referring to Maybin’s lack of size. “I saw where somebody said that he didn’t fit the scheme. But I don’t know what scheme he fits at that size unless you’re a strong safety or something.”
Maybin had complained that his metabolism made it difficult for him to easily add bulk. And yet he struggled last year after the Bills made the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, which was expected to better fit his style of play.
Nix insisted the Bills afforded Maybin numerous opportunities in part because of how high he was drafted.
“That’s the reason we took a little longer. We needed him and we wanted him to come through,” Nix said. “He did everything he could do. He practiced hard. He hustled. He did everything you asked of him. It just didn’t work out.”
Despite his on-field struggles, Maybin was mostly upbeat and jovial. He would often sing and joke with his teammates as he walked off the field following practice. And he often celebrated with a fist pump whenever he made a sack in practice.
That enthusiasm never translated into making an impact in games, where he saw most of his time playing on special teams.
Another consistent knock against Maybin was his ineffectiveness against the run, something that also led to coaches limiting his playing time.
The Bills were second guessed immediately after selecting Maybin, who entered the draft after three years at college, and with less than one full year as a starter with the Nittany Lions. A redshirt freshman, Maybin did lead the Big 10 with 12 sacks in only 10 starts during in his junior and final season.
Can the Jets make a player out of Maybin? Sound off in the comments below…
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