Bills top draft pick DE Maybin remains motivated

Aaron Maybin was in the midst of discussing how his rookie

season hasn’t come close to meeting his objectives when the

conversation switched to the Buffalo Bills defensive end’s latest

hairstyle.

Turning his head slightly, the first-round draft pick showed off

how he had shaved into his hair the word “Mayhem,” one of the

nicknames he picked up as a star pass rusher at Penn State last

year. As colorful as it might look, Maybin acknowledged it doesn’t

exactly match what little disruption he’s stirred up on the field

in the NFL.

“Obviously not, because I’m not a starter,” he said after

practice Wednesday. “We’ll see once I start playing a little

more.”

Maybin’s not sure whether that additional playing time will come

this season, which is quickly coming to a close. The Bills (4-8)

are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention as

they prepare to play at Kansas City (3-9) this weekend.

Maybin is willing to lower his expectations a little for this

year. The level of confidence he has in his abilities, though,

remains unchanged.

“I’m good,” he said. “I’m good enough to produce in this

league.”

How good remains to be seen, because Maybin’s impact has been

negligible so far for a player drafted with the No. 11th pick in

April.

He’s getting between 10 and 15 plays a game this season, all as

a backup, and has been credited with 11 tackles and no sacks. He

enjoyed his best game in a 19-13 loss to the New York Jets last

week, when he was credited with a season-high three tackles.

Maybin’s having a tough time breaking in on a line that features

two veteran ends – pass-rushing specialist Aaron Schobel on the

right side and Chris Kelsay on the left.

Patience, said Perry Fewell, the Bills’ defensive coordinator

who’s now interim head coach after Dick Jauron was fired last

month.

“It took him a while to get going. It took him a while to

understand what he wanted and how he wanted it,” Fewell said.

“It’s very tough to play in this league, and I think he will get

better and be a topflight pick: Maybe not at the end of this

season, but he’s going to be a topflight pick for this football

team.”

Fewell noted that many defensive ends succeed in college by

relying on their speed. That’s different at the NFL level, where

opposing offensive tackles are quicker and more agile, forcing

defensive ends to develop an array of moves.

Maybin has been a raw project since entering the draft with only

two years of college playing experience and less than a season as a

starter. After sitting out his first year at Penn State as a

redshirt freshman, Maybin didn’t win the starting job until the

third week of last season. He made the most of his limited playing

time by leading the Big Ten with 12 sacks and was voted a first

team All-American.

There also were questions about Maybin’s size. Though he has the

prototypical height at 6-foot-4 to play the position, Maybin’s

250-pound frame was considered comparatively small by NFL

standards.

After being initially confident that his weight wouldn’t be a

factor, Maybin now noted he might have to bulk up.

He’s also open to the possibility of switching to linebacker,

which is something Fewell considered last spring.

Those plans, however, changed after Maybin missed most of

training camp – 24 practices and three preseason games – while

negotiating his rookie contract. He signed three weeks before the

start of the regular season.

Maybin dismissed a question about whether the time he missed

slowed his development by saying he hasn’t had any trouble

understanding the Bills playbook.

Maybin also refused to voice any complaints or suggest whether

he feels he’s done enough to earn more playing time.

“I’m not answering that question. You all must think I’m

crazy,” he said. “I’m not a coach. I can’t answer those questions

and I won’t try to.”

One thing Maybin did have an answer for is how he intends to

reassess his goals and approach next season.

“Our job isn’t to sulk about it. Our job is to get better,”

Maybin said. “Any time you fall short of your expectations, you

really don’t need any kind of motivation.”