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On paper, there were a lot of similarities between Vernon Gholston and Aaron Maybin.
Both of them were pass rushing demons at Big 10 schools who were drafted high in the first round by teams that play in the AFC East. They both shifted positions upon their ascension to the NFL and were expected to be huge stars that made life miserable for their opponents.
And then each of them flopped royally. Neither Gholston nor Maybin recorded a sack for the teams that drafted them and each saw their playing time dwindle down to nothing before the Jets and Bills, respectively, swallowed hard and moved on from their mistake this offseason.
That's where their stories diverge. Gholston got a chance with the Bears this summer, but couldn't make the team and the demise of the UFL might mean that he has about as much of a future in professional football as Justin Bieber.
The Jets, desperate for a pass rusher to put some teeth into Rex Ryan's defense, gave Maybin a look and, at first, it seemed like he was set for nothing more than Gholston. Despite some decent work in preseason games, Maybin didn't make the team out of training camp and no one came knocking on his door once he hit the street.
After three weeks of watching quarterbacks sipping tea in the pocket against his defense, Rex Ryan decided to give Maybin another shot. Whether Maybin feels the urgency to prove himself in what might be his last chance or if Ryan's scheme simply puts him in a position to succeed, the Week Four call to Maybin is looking like one of the biggest moments in this Jets season.
Maybin has three sacks, tied for most on the team, and three forced fumbles in four games with the Jets. He doesn't play many snaps -- at 228 pounds, he has little chance taking on offensive linemen looking to run the ball -- but his speed has made a huge difference for a defense that has done everything well except for rushing the passer in the Rex Ryan era.
Keeping him focused shouldn't be a problem during the bye week. A trip to Buffalo awaits the Jets next week and that will be a chance for Maybin to strut his stuff in front of the team that could never get the most out of the linebacker.
The Jets have gotten plenty from Maybin in his first four games. If he keeps producing over the next nine, they'll have proved that one man's trash truly can become another man's treasure.