Monday, August 15, 2011

The Mayhem Era

Let me take you back to April 2009.  The Buffalo Bills had the eleventh overall pick in the NFL draft.  Rumors on message boards indicated that the team would take Aaron Maybin of Penn State with that selection.  Despite praying and hoping against all hope, the Bills did indeed take him.  I immediately texted my friend, "F--- Aaron Maybin."  I knew it was a wasted pick.

Brian Orakpo, Clay Matthews and Brandon Pettigrew were among players still available when the Bills took Maybin.  But Dick Jauron and Company were enamored by Maybin's speed...which was his only weapon to rush the passer in college.  He was a light defensive end at Penn State, weighing only 230 pounds.  He also only produced sacks against lesser competition, completely disappearing against teams like OSU and USC.  I am not a professional scout for an NFL team, but even I know this is an enormous red flag.

So we Bills fans were stuck with Aaron "Mayhem" Maybin.  Before recording a sack in the NFL, which he failed to do in two seasons, he hired a rapper to create a song about how awesome he is at sacking the quarterback.  He missed 24 practices in August's training camp his rookie year, and got to play in one preseason game.  Still, he suited up for all 16 games and had a handful of tackles without a sack.

In 2010 we brought in Chan Gailey as head coach, and he implemented a 3-4 defense.  Maybin was moved to OLB specifically to rush the passer.  His performance was so bad, however, that he was dropped down the depth chart behind a sixth-round pick (Arthur Moats) and an undrafted free agent (Antonio Coleman).  He played in 2/3 of the 2010 season.  None of this was lost on Yahoo Sports, who named him the worst player in the NFL that season.

A sixth-round pick of the 2010 draft had more sacks in one season than the eleventh overall pick of the 2009 draft had in two.

Fast forward to today, when the Bills officially released him.  This article from has a more detailed timeframe of Maybin's two years associated with the Buffalo Bills.  I'm not angry at Maybin for not working out.  It's not up to me to judge players who are better at their profession than I would be in their profession.

However, the whole Maybin saga encapsulates how frustrating it is to be a Bills fan.  We draft a kid with one good season who accumulated sacks only against the weaker competition faced in college; even that came only after the man in front of him on the depth chart was injured.  There were more talented, more accomplished players on the board behind him.  He missed two dozen training camp practices his rookie year because he was selfish and not interested in being the best player he could have been.  And two years later, we release him

I guess the good news is that the current Bills administration of Buddy Nix and Gailey are taking steps to improve the roster.  They're bringing in players to run the schemes they want to play.  When the 3-4 wasn't working last year because they didn't have the personnel, they switched to a 3-4/4-3 hybrid.  They've shown they're adaptable. 

But two years of Nix and Gailey at the helm won't magically change what's happened since 2000.  I'll leave you with the team's first round picks of the last several NFL drafts.  I will now go cry in my beer.

2010 - CJ Spiller
2009 - Aaron Maybin
2008 - Leodis McKelvin
2007 - Marshawn Lynch
2006 - Donte Whitner
2006 - John McCargo
2005 - None since we traded up for our second 2004 first round pick
2004 - Lee Evans
2004 - JP Losman
2003 - Willis McGahee
2002 - Mike Williams
2001 - Nate Clements

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