It’s a good year to be starving for a pass rusher.
The Buffalo Bills are almost guaranteed to land the sack artist they need in April. No player on Buffalo’s roster had more than four sacks last year. Rather than cure this problem via free agency with an overpriced contract, the Bills appear willing to invest a first-round pick into a pass rusher.
Four defensive ends rise above the rest in April’s draft: Brian Orakpo, Everette Brown, Aaron Maybin and Tyson Jackson. While the two teams ahead of Buffalo both could use a smell-blood pass rusher, expect the Bills to – at least – have their pick between Penn State’s Maybin and LSU’s Jackson. In the first edition of the Scout.com-wide Mock Draft (which will be published soon), I have the Bills choosing Maybin.
The choice was easy after Maybin’s coming out party at PSU’s Pro Day. With questions lingering about Aaron Schobel’s foot and the sheer fact that Chris Kelsay and Ryan Denney are not 8+ sack players, Buffalo must inject its defense with a fast specimen like Maybin. Penn State’s latest defensive end phenom ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds Wednesday at PSU’s pro day. Yes, a defensive end at 4.59. This time would have netted Maybin – by far – the best time at the NFL Combine in February. His time at the Combine was in the 4.7 range. Clearly, Maybin has been a workout warrior the past two months.
More mind-boggling, Maybin has shredded time off his 40 while bulking up his questionable frame. There have been major concerns about whether he’ll be able to withstand the rigors of playing defensive end in the pros at his smaller statur. Well, since January, all Maybin has done is pack on 25 pounds.
Check out the Maybin’s physical transformation at this link. I expect Everette Brown and Brian Orakpo to be picked before No. 11 overall. Green Bay desperately needs to add some punch to its pass rush. New defensive coordinator Dom Capers is instituting a 3-4 defense and needs two speedy players off the edge to make his system tick. The Packers will place Aaron Kampman at one spot, but need another pass rusher on the other side. With Orakpo lone gone, look for Green Bay to snatch up Florida State’s Brown.
Maybin is one heckuva consolation. Right now, he is flying up the charts faster than Taylor Swift (Ed's Note: Please purchase "Love Song." Epic. For any gender.) Maybin's blend of athleticism, power and speed is akin to James Harrison and Julius Peppers. Last season on the Nittany Lions’ eighth-ranked defense in the nation, Maybin had 12 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. I’m not buying the whole PSU Defensive End Stigma. C’mon. Courtney Brown, Michael Haynes, Tamba Hali and Aaron Maybin are four completely different players – just like all the Florida wide receivers are different players. Judge the man, not the system. Maybin proved Wednesday that he has the speed to be an instant disruptive force at the NFL level.
Most of his success came in one season, but Maybin could eventually mold into a cornerstone on Buffalo’s roster. Terrence McGee and the secondary cannot cover receivers as long as they needed to in 2008.
Last season, the Bills took a major step in drafting Leodis McKelvin. Drafting Maybin adds another building block to a solid defense. After a break-the-scene pro day, Maybin is who I have Buffalo taking in the Scout.com Mock Draft.
Don't involuntarily yell at the nearest family member if Everette Brown is picked by Green Bay at No. 9. Maybin will do just fine...and then some.
Jump into the Maybin thread on the Rockpile Forum.
See Maybin on the NFL Network.
Get YouTube clips of the top defensive ends in this year's draft.