Aaron Maybin figures there's more than enough time to show he can make an immediate difference for the Buffalo Bills' defense by the time the season begins.
First things first.
After spending the past few months being timed, tested, poked and prodded as part of the comprehensive evaluation process leading up to the NFL draft last weekend, the defensive end was eager to finally get back on the field Friday, when the Bills opened a three-day rookie minicamp.
It's been so long since I've been on a football field with a helmet on and actually doing some football activities,'' said Maybin, the Bills' first-round pick.It was good actually to get out there and get going.''
Though he barely had time to work up a sweat - much less hit anyone - during two 90-minute non-contact practice sessions that were mostly limited to individual drills, Maybin is well aware of how much hard work lies ahead.
Aside from living up to the expectations that come with being drafted 11th overall, the Penn State product intends to answer any lingering questions over whether his performance last season - as a first-time starter, he led the Big 10 Conference with 12 sacks - was not some fluke and, instead, merely the tip of his potential.
I try not to read any of the press. At the end of the day, all you're going to do is get yourself worked up over nothing,'' Maybin said, addressing the critics, who wondered whether he was either a one-year wonder or a one-dimensional pass-rusher.Obviously, people are going to speak on what they think they know and what they see. Until my play starts to speak for itself, I'll let people say what they will.''
The Bills are counting on Maybin to plug an immediate need on a defense that registered 24 sacks, finishing in a tie with Washington for fifth-fewest in the NFL last season. The hope is that Maybin, at the very least, can play on the left side in passing situations to complement Aaron Schobel on a line that also features tackle Marcus Stroud.
Maybin is listed at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, having added 20 pounds this offseason in a bid to prepare to go up against NFL linemen. He was highly regarded for his speed and agility, having a powerful quick first step and long arms that allowed him to play havoc with opposing linemen in college.
His 12 sacks ranked seventh in the nation, and Maybin proved consistent, registering at least one sack in eight of 12 games last season. He also was in on 21 tackles for a loss last season, registering at least one in each game.
Not bad for someone who was a 20-year-old redshirt sophomore, and didn't break into the Nittany Lions' starting lineup until the fourth game of the season.
Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell liked what he saw after attending Maybin's workout during Penn State's pro day, and was particularly impressed with how the added weight didn't slow down the player.
And where some question Maybin's lack of experience, Fewell doesn't consider that a negative.
He only played a year and he was that good. There's a lot more in there to improve upon,'' Fewell said.He's got so much upside.''
Fewell noted that Maybin also showed the potential of being able to play outside linebacker. The Bills, however, will limit Maybin to learning to play defensive end before they consider adding to his workload.
Maybin isn't making any promises.
``As a young guy coming in, I'm only 21 years old, I'm not arrogant enough to think that I'm going to come in and completely turn everything inside out,'' he said.
That doesn't means he lacks for confidence.
``I think that my best will be good enough to help make an impact this year, and hopefully it'll be enough to help us win some football games,'' Maybin said.