He's a wet behind the ears NFL rookie, but Bills top pick Aaron Maybin is anything but intimidated when it comes taking the field with NFL veterans in OTAs. The Penn State product didn't feel he had to make a big adjustment to the speed of the NFL game.
"A little bit, nothing too serious," said a confident Maybin. "Football is football."
That doesn't mean that Maybin doesn't respect the step up in terms of competition at the pro level, but having a case of the jitters hasn't been an issue.
"Not at all," he said. "Once you get to this level, if you're still nervous, you're still lacking confidence in your own abilities, you need to stay in school. I think that mentally, I did a pretty good job of preparing myself just for the change in pace."
Maybin has been running with the second team defense at left defensive end. Hustling on every rep he gets defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has been on him to bend the edge and turn the corner on pass plays.
Buffalo's coaching staff and everyone else knows Maybin's initial burst is his most feared asset.
"Aaron showed the skill set that we saw on tape and in his workouts," said head coach Dick Jauron. "He has a quick first step, speed to the edge, can corner and chase, and is a willing worker. Obviously he has a lot to learn about the NFL but with the skill set he has and the work ethic that he has shown he should create some problems for our opponents."
Maybin however, isn't about to rely solely on his physical skills. He's also trying to acquire the mental acuity that experienced players have soaked up in the meeting rooms during film study by asking questions of the coaches as well as the vets.
"I just try to make myself available to everybody, learn from anybody I can learn from," said Maybin. "I've been taking some time just to sit back and learn from guys like Marcus Stroud, Chris Kelsay and Aaron Schobel. Guys that have been here for awhile and know what the system is and that have had some success, and just trying to learn what I can from them."
What Maybin is also hoping to learn between now and when his rookie season begins are some additional pass rush techniques to add to his repertoire. A speed rusher cannot survive on speed alone at the NFL level.
"You have to have a counter (move)," said Jauron. "You can't depend on one thing to beat the tackle because they'll adjust if that's all you have. The speed rushers definitely put fear into the offensive tackle, just like a speed receiver puts fear in a corner. So he's got that and now he'll just have to work on the skills to counter that and what he can do to set that up and how he can use it best, and then of course the run game as we move along."
There is a lot for Maybin to gain a grasp of before the real games begin in September, but he's determined to be as ready as he can be for his first NFL season knowing his new teammates are expecting him to make an early impact.
"I'm just learning and trying to get better each day I step on the field," Maybin said. "And that's all you can ask for."