Maybin, Wood ready for opportunity

A lot of pressure comes with being Buffalo's first-round picks, but this pair welcomes the attention. Buffalo's rookie minicamp started up this week. See what Aaron Maybin and Eric Wood have to say...

If defensive end Aaron Maybin and offensive lineman Eric Wood are feeling the pressure of being first-round draft picks, the latest highly touted rookies for the Buffalo Bills sure aren't showing it.

The Bills used the 11th and 28th overall picks in last weekend's NFL draft to select Penn State's Maybin, a pass-rush specialist who led the Big Ten in sacks with 12, and Louisville's Wood, a giant guard/center with a nasty temperament, to help them turn around a franchise that has fallen on hard times in the win column.

Buffalo hasn't made the playoffs in a franchise-record nine consecutive seasons and has finished with a 7-9 record three consecutive years. They no longer are renters in pro football's no-man's land, they virtually own the place.

"I can't speak for the big man here, but I welcome the attention," said Maybin during an introductory news conference where he shared the stage with Wood.

"For a guy like me, I think that the opportunity to come in and have this great organization put their faith in us that we can come in and be a few pieces of the puzzle that can help win games, that's an extreme honor. I'm just excited to get out there and start working."

Wood had a similar response when asked about being among the new faces of the franchise where the spotlight shines brightest.

Growing up in Cincinnati, he had family members that were fans of the Bills' Super Bowl teams of the early 1990s. In addition, his college coach, Steve Kragthorpe, Buffalo's quarterback coach in 2001 and '02, has always talked highly of the city and franchise.

"I grew up watching those great Bills teams," Wood said. "To be in a position like this to try and get the team back to those days is an extreme honor and I know Aaron feels the same way. We're not coming here to try and lose, and like he said, we're a piece of the puzzle. I talked to the coaches a lot about wearing that blue-collar attitude, coming to work every day, trying to get wins, reflecting this city. I'm from a blue-collar town myself and that's what I'm here to do."

Of course, the Bills have been here before, too, putting the weight of the world on two untested 20-somethings and hoping for miracles.

This is the eighth time in history Buffalo has had two players join the team as first-round picks.

In the seven previous occasions, at least half of the duo turned into a find. Three times the Bills hit on both picks.

The jackpots: tackle Paul Seymour and guard Joe DeLamielleure in 1973, defensive end Bruce Smith and cornerback Derrick Burroughs in 1985, running back Ronnie Harmon and tackle Will Wolford in 1986.

Half the jackpot: linebacker Tom Cousineau (miss) and receiver Jerry Butler in 1979, tight end Tony Hunter (miss) and quarterback Jim Kelly in 1983, receiver Lee Evans and quarterback J.P. Losman (miss) in 2004, safety Donte Whitner and defensive tackle John McCargo (miss) in 2006.

Maybin, who will be used in pass-rushing situations until he can prove he can play the run effectively at 249 pounds, said he and Wood don't feel like they're carrying a heavy torch.

In speaking with fellow Nittany Lion Paul Posluszny, Buffalo's middle linebacker drafted two seasons ago, Maybin believes Buffalo has a strong roster, it's now just a matter of learning how to win.

Last year, Buffalo started 5-1 before an epic collapse.

"From what I can see and from what I've heard, everybody's out here working hard," he said. "The pieces are here."

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