NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #6 – New York Jets – DE Vernon Gholston
The New York Jets are on the clock. They’ve got a lot of needs and plenty of great choices on the board. Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston would seem the obvious choice here, especially given the renewed emphasis on speed rushers after the Giants’ Super Bowl win.
Five picks in 40 minutes is a refreshing change from last year. Harder to live blog, but better to watch.
Gholston it is, at the 45 minute mark.
Scouts, Inc.: 15th
Strengths: Has the physical tools to develop into an every-down impact defender in the NFL. Possesses adequate height and bulk, but few prospects have a better physique. Very little body fat. Powerfully built with explosive strength for his size. Displays very good initial burst not elite level of Dwight Freeney (Colts), but only a notch below. Uses a wide array of pass rush moves. Can beat OT’s with speed, power and fluid double moves. He’s the only defender in past two years (from what we saw on film) to give Michigan OT Jake Long problems. He is strong enough to take on some blockers and anchor versus the run. Plays with good discipline. Seals off the end versus the run and will take on bigger blockers when asked to. He does an adequate job of protecting his legs as he works across the line on runs away from him. Hard worker off-the-field and obviously puts in more than fair share of time in the weight room.
Weaknesses: Flashes upper-echelon skills but he’s not consistent enough. Is strong but lacks ideal height/bulk to consistently anchor at the line versus bigger blockers. Would need to add some bulk in order to hold up as a fulltime end in a four-man front in the NFL. Still raw dropping into coverage and will need time to develop that aspect of his game assuming he’s used to some degree as a hybrid end-linebacker type. Played in a heavy rotation at Ohio State, which kept him fresh a luxury he is not likely to have as a high picks in the NFL.
Overall: Gholston played sparingly in six games as a freshman in 2004 and was redshirted in 2005 after breaking his hand in the season opener. He emerged as a force a year later and didn’t miss a start in his last two seasons. In 2006, he finished with 8.5 sacks, 49 tackles and an interception. Last year Gholston set single-season (14) and single-game (four) school sack records on his way to being named a second-team All-America selection. He returned a fumble for a touchdown and posted 15.5 tackles for loss (for a career total of 30.5). It can get frustrating studying Gholston on film because he’s inconsistent. There are times when he is flat-out dominant and there are other times that he will disappear. However, most of his best performances came in the Buckeyes’ biggest games (notched four combined sacks in last two outings versus rival Michigan). Gholston has the potential to play wide-end in a four-man front and/or rush-linebacker in a 3-4 alignment. He is one of the top pass rushers in this year’s class and his combine performance only verified his explosiveness in that regards. As a result, Gholston is a likely top-10 selection in the 2008 draft.
Rick Gosselin: 8th
Mel Kiper: 7th
He took his play to a new level in 2007, showcasing the explosiveness to overpower offensive tackles at the point of attack. Gholston also has excellent closing speed, as evidenced by the 14 sacks he registered. He also has the versatility to play with his hand off the ground.
We’ve already reached the point in the draft, it seems, where there’s wide disparity in how teams evaluate players. Gholston is not the 6th best value in the draft, according to consensus, which would seem an indication that the Jets Jets Jets picked for need, need, need.
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