ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The 2009 NFL draft was not a good one.
Several second- and third-round picks have already been cut. The class took its most serious hit Monday when the Buffalo Bills jettisoned defensive end/linebacker Aaron Maybin. He was the No. 11 overall pick. It is astonishing that a team would give up on a pick that high before the player’s third season.
It’s a prime example of how weak the 2009 draft class was.
The AFC West had five first-round picks that year and none has fully developed. They were defensive end Tyson Jackson (No. 3, Kansas City), receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (No. 7, Oakland), running back Knowshon Moreno (No. 12, Denver), linebacker Larry English (No. 16, San Diego) and defensive end Robert Ayers (No. 18, Denver).
Although none of these players has produced yet, all eyes are on Jackson because of how high he was taken. However, I haven't had any indication from people I have spoken with at Chiefs camp that they believe they have a Maybin case on their hands. Actually, Kansas City is satisfied with Jackson’s progress.
He started to make strides before he was hurt early last season. He has produced solidly in camp this year. The Chiefs see Jackson as a reliable, hard-working player whom they expect to be a steady, long-term starter. He hasn't made the Pro Bowl or produced gaudy sack numbers. (He has one sack in 28 NFL games.) But Kansas City envisions him as the starting left end for the next several years.
Ideally, you’d want much more than just a steady player from the No. 3 pick. But that’s what type of class this has been. Many league observers thought the Chiefs would take Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. He went to Seattle at No. 4. He, too, hasn’t set the NFL on fire. The case certainly could have been made for Kansas City to take Boston College nose tackle B.J. Raji. He went six spots later to Green Bay and he has become a stalwart. But Raji had character concerns coming out of college, and the Chiefs may have been leery of him.
Jackson is known for his good character, and the Chiefs think his attitude is one of the reasons he'll develop. I asked Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. for his opinion on Jackson. Williamson thinks Jackson has a long way to go and doesn’t think he was worth the No. 3 pick, but he has hope for him.
“He has a very strong defensive coaching staff,” Williamson said. “I would bet he ends up being an adequate starter.”
As Maybin hits the waiver wire Tuesday, it's time to reflect back on the 2009 draft class. However, it seems too early to think this division’s top pick from that class will end up being another Maybin.