That's right, even if Chris Long is there, my official selection is Vernon Gholston. After reading all the opinions, scouting reports, and watching game videos I'm convinced that this kid will become something special; very much in the Dwight Freeney mold.
It's important to consider what our D or O-line would look like, balancing out the short-term and long-term, with certain picks - if there would need to be shuffling around, and how they would impact the team defense/offense from an overall perspective. As far as having the biggest impact, I believe Gholston is what we are looking for. His potential as an elite pass-rushing athlete might not be available to us for many more years.
I would be satisfied if the Rams went with Dorsey, Jake Long, or Chris Long. They are all can't-miss prospects. I know it's a risk going with Gholston, but my gut tells me that he'll have not only a more immediate but also lasting impact with his skill-set.
GIMME 5: Tressel says take Gholston
Published on: 03/25/08
Quite a guy, that Buckeye
And with the No. 3 pick in the 2008 NFL draft, the Falcons select ... Ohio State defensive lineman Vernon Gholston? Could happen. Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel gives us five things NFL executives and draftnik fans should know about the top prospect:
1. His humility and unselfishness are tremendous, and impressive when you see that attitude in such a physically imposing man.
2. Vernon is an athlete among athletes — a modern-day Hercules in every physical component. His workouts have been the stuff of legend.
3. He can tell a story and hold an audience spellbound. Get him started on Bible school stories some time and young and old people are equally captivated.
4. He is one of the most consistent players I've ever coached, and he has maintained that even keel throughout his pro preparation.
5. His big-play ability did a lot of great things for the Buckeyes, and we all thank him.
— Compiled by Jeff D'Alessio
Vernon Gholston (DE)
Vernon Gholston is a remarkable talent, but he's only just begun realizing his vast potential.
He never picked up a football until his sophomore year in high school and had just one season of defensive experience as a linebacker before being converted to defensive end when he arrived at Ohio State.
Blessed with incredible speed (clocked at 4.56 in the 40-yard dash), long limbs and superb strength, Gholston is the prototype pass rusher that professional teams look for -- big, fast, strong and explosive. An avid performer in the weight room, he boasted the best bench press on the team at 455 pounds. He also put on an impressive performance for teammates, squatting 405 pounds 20 times.
How Gholston was lured into football will one day make a nice story, if he becomes the legendary pass rusher many personnel experts are predicting. Walking in the halls of Cass Technical High School, football coach Thomas Wilcher spotted the 14-year-old strapping youngster, who stood 6-3, 240 pounds at the time. He convinced the player to join the football team.
Gholston was too big to play in Detroit's Police Athletic League and the elementary public schools did not offer an organized football program. From the first time he ever stepped on the field, the coaching staff knew they had a natural talent.
As a sophomore at Cass Tech, Gholston was first tried at linebacker, but he was overwhelmed by the plays he needed to know to play that position. One of the offensive coaches "stole" the youngster away from the defensive squad and had him play offensive guard as a sophomore. His junior campaign was limited by ankle sprains, which forced him to stay on the offensive line and scrap plans to also play linebacker.
By his senior season, he had already earned All-State honors as an offensive lineman and gained experience playing linebacker for the first time in his career. In just one season on defense, he was regarded as one of the best linebackers in the Midwest region. He would go on to record 75 tackles with six sacks in his final season, as Rivals.com rated him the 11th-best defensive end prospect in the nation and the 12th-best overall prospect in the state of Michigan.
Gholston enrolled at Ohio State, becoming the only player from Michigan on the squad. He turned down scholarship offers from Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa to join the Buckeyes. The coaching staff immediately began giving him a crash course in playing the "Leo" position, which incorporates dropping into pass coverage and rushing the passer from either side of the field.
He mentored under Mike Kudla his first year with the team, appearing in six games as a true freshman in 2004, but did not record a tackle. In 2005, a broken hand suffered in the second game vs. Texas earned Gholston a medical hardship. He had one tackle in that game and spent the rest of the year on the sideline.
Gholston used that time wisely in the weight room, bulking up from 238 to 264 pounds, as he took over "Leo" duties in 2006. He garnered All-Big Ten Conference second-team honors, as he ranked fourth in the league with 15 stops for losses of 86 yards and was fifth in the Big Ten with 8.5 sacks. He added a quarterback pressure with two pass breakups and an interception. He also finished sixth on the squad with 49 tackles (21 solo).
In 2007, Gholston earned All-American recognition and was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation's top defensive end. He posted 37 tackles (25 solo) and was a terror in the backfield, ranking eighth in the nation with 15.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and second nationally with 14 sacks. He also scooped up a fumble and returned it for a 25-yard touchdown.
In 34 games at Ohio State, Gholston started 25 times. He registered 87 tackles (47 solo) with 22.5 sacks for minus-184 yards and 30.5 stops for losses of 199 yards. He had two pass deflections and an eight-yard interception return, as he also recovered a fumble that he returned 25 yards for a touchdown.
Positives: Has a well-built frame with a wide back, broad shoulders, V-shaped torso, large hands, long limbs, defined muscles throughout and thick thighs and calves...Excellent speed rusher who needs to be accounted for on every play and has good field presence, locating the ball quickly to fly to it and contain the run...Has the ability to consistently disrupt the backfield, as he has the speed to escape and the strength to overpower offensive tackles off the edge...Plays with the type of effort and emotion that makes a coach comfortable knowing that he will make plays all over the field...Has great flexibility and balance working down the line and changing direction...Has a low center of gravity and strong anchor, making it very rare to see him on the ground...When he is taken off of his feet, he is quick to recover and get back into the action...Has loose hips, good knee bend and balance in his running stride when chasing long distances...Has rare ability to run the field for a player his size and can be sudden in his initial movement...Shows the in-line range and low pad level to shoot the gaps, playing with leverage when competing at the point of attack...Shows the effort to impact the play even if he doesn't make the tackle...Plays with a high motor and shows a natural feel for the game, as he continues to improve his ability to anticipate and jump the play...Self-starter with a great passion for the game and is a hard worker in the training room...While very confident in his ability, he is also a humble character with no off-field issues...Rare to see him talk trash and just goes about his business...Has a sudden first step to defeat an offensive tackle coming off the edge and the uncanny ability to anticipate the snap cadence and time his jumps...His low center of gravity lets him consistently shoot the gaps...Has that good blend of quickness and strength to hold ground at the point of attack...Has the quickness to penetrate when working inside and is very disruptive coming off the snap, as he is quick and active with his hand punch to rock the bigger blockers back on their heels...Could punch and shed blockers sooner but he can get upfield and collide with the ballcarrier with good pop on contact...Has the lower-body flexibility to drop his weight and leverage at the point, displaying the body control needed to split double teams...Generally uses his hands effectively to shed and separate, as he battles until the whistle...Can close in a hurry in the short area and takes good angles in pursuit to make plays outside the box...Has the speed to flatten and chase from the backside or the outside...Strong wrap-up tackler who can adjust in space and finish plays on his own...Consistently plays on his feet and is very quick coming off the edge, as he can turn the corner, showing the flexibility and counter moves (must be more consistent with the counter) to come under and also has the strength to bull rush or push the pocket...Is starting to develop a good feel for his pass-rush package (still needs to rely on those moves more) and knows how to keep his hands off and get free...Also capable of maintaining inside position when he sinks his pads...Has the second gear to close on the pocket and, while he gets most of his sacks off backside pursuit, he is also able to take an in-line gap to impact the backfield.
Negatives: Has loose hips to drop back in pass coverage, but when he gets too tall in his backpedal, he fails to get a clean turn coming out of his breaks...Instinctive player, but is still a relatively new to the game and needs more reps to help him gain experience, as he relies on his athletic ability...Has improved his technique, but can't be considered a technician using his hands or displaying an array of pass rush moves...Must develop a better feel for blocking schemes, as he doesn't always protect his body from cut blocks and is not yet consistent at splitting double teams...Can be fooled by misdirection and while he gives total effort, he sometimes can't find the ball until it is past him.
Compares To: JOHN ABRAHAM-Atlanta...Both players rely on a perfect blend of strength and suddenness off the snap to wreak havoc in the backfield. Gholston has a relentless motor in pursuit. If he had more on-field experience, he could be an outstanding linebacker at the next level. However, with teams looking for hybrid Cover-2 pass rushers, he is perfectly capable of impacting the backfield coming off the edge or dropping back into the zone to cover vs. the pass. He is still a raw talent that gets by on his athletic ability, but in a few years, with patient coaching and more experience, he has the potential to change the game, much like Abraham, Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis) and Jason Taylor (Miami) have done playing in that role.
Q & A
Growing up, who was your favorite NFL player and why?
Marshall Faulk - I loved playing Madden with him.
In college, what player hit you the hardest? Who was the recipient of your best hit?
I do the hitting! It all depends on who you ask.
What TV-show marathon will keep you on the couch all day?
Sportscenter tends to keep me on the couch. Sometimes I watch it three times a day.
What are the five most-played songs in your iPod? What's the one song you hope nobody ever finds out is in your iPod?
Luther Vandross, Lil' Wayne, The Isley Brothers, R Kelly, and The Temptations.
What celebrity would play you in the movie version of your life and why?
Arnold Schwarzenegger - He and I have a similar build.
What is one thing your teammates don't know about you?
They know everything about me.
What reality TV show would you like to be on and why?
I would like to be on American Gladiators. It looks like a lot of fun being on a show like that.
What's your proudest moment in football? Proudest moment off the field?
The day I was able to start at Ohio State.
When you play Madden, what team do you use? Do you put yourself on the team?
I play with the St. Louis Rams; No I don't.
Who has been the biggest influence on your football career and how?
My high school coach, Charleston Fobbs. He helped develop the mentality in me to want to be the best.
My vote goes to Gholston!Quote:
ESPN Chat with former OSU DE Vernon Gholston
Brian, North Reading Mass: Hey Vernon, was your performance at the combine what you expected?
Vernon Gholston: Definitely not. I expected to be one of the top guys, if not the top guy in most of all the categories. At the end of the day, I was expecting a low 4.5s in the 40 and jump high. Just show what I'm capable of.
Joe (Staunton, Va): What's your favorite memory of your Michigan vs. Ohio State games?
Vernon Gholston: My favorite memory would be winning them. I went 4-0 against Michigan, me being from Michigan, that's a big thing going home. Being at OSU, we pride ourselves on beating them. It's great.
Andrew (Medford, NJ): What do you feel is the most improtant thing you will take away from your experience playing at THE ohio state university?
Vernon Gholston: The most important, I would have to say, the experiences that you share with the people that you're with. I met a lot of great people that I hope will be with me the rest of my life. I met some of my closest friends here.
Ryan (Villanova, PA): Who at the NFL level do you compare yourself to?
Vernon Gholston: I would say no one in particular. If anyone, I've gotten a lot of comparisons to Merriman. But when I sit down and watch tapes, I don't say that I have to be that player. I just look at what I'm doing and what I need to do.
Brad (Gadsden,Alabama): Vernon, What is the hardest thing to do at the combine?
Vernon Gholston: The hardest thing to do was the final day of testing. The drills were back-to-back-to-back. Going from one thing to the next was kind of tiring. But that's what it is. It tests you mentally.
Karl (Minneapolis, MN): Which position would you rather play in the NFL: Rush linebacker (in the 3-4) or DE (in the 4-3)?
Vernon Gholston: The biggest thing about me, I say if you can do both, why not do both? It makes you versatile. If I have to say one, I'd say 4-3, down DE. I pride myself on being one of the guys up front and doing the dirty work. You can control the game from there.
Aaron (mesa.AZ: Hey Vernon what do you think will be the biggest adjustment you will have to make coming from college into the pros?
Vernon Gholston: The biggest adjustment will have to be that it's strictly a business. On any given day, you can be cut from a team. In college, you're with a team for pretty much four years.
Jerry (Haslett, MI): What's the first thing you are going to buy with your first paycheck?
Vernon Gholston: The first thing I'll probably buy is probably take my family out to dinner.
adam, New York: What teams have contacted you, if so, what are they looking for you for accomplish for their team.
Vernon Gholston: I met at the combine with 25 different teams. That's not to say they're all interested in me, but they're interviewing to get a feel for all the guys. For the teams, they look at what kind of person you are. They were looking at my character, my past history, why I play football. They're just trying to get a feel for the person that you are.
Joe (Staunton, Va): What's your favorite pass rushing move?
Vernon Gholston: Favorite? I like the bull rush. I like to physical handle the offensive tackle.
Ian Union, New Jersey: How did it feel making Chad Henne feel the pain train this past year?
Vernon Gholston: It was nothing personal toward those guys. But it being an OSU-Michigan game it was the biggest game of the year. It was big to get the win not just for myself but for the team.
Andrew, SFO: Hey Vernon, What NFL players did you admire when you were growing up?
Vernon Gholston: It's tough for me, because I didn't get into football until my sophomore year of high school. But when I got into football, I liked the St. Louis Rams and their high powered offense. Marshall Faulk was a guy I liked.
Johnny(Queens): Which O-lineman that you have faced in your college career was the toughest to battle with?
Vernon Gholston: The toughest would definitely be Jake Long. He had the strength, speed, quickness. He's an all around competitor.
Ed (Cleveland, Ohio): What goals are you setting for yourself for your first season?
Vernon Gholston: My goal is to No. 1, win the Super Bowl, No. 2, win rookie of the year and No. 3 make myself a feared player in the NFL.
Andrew Poland, OH: What teams have been interested in drafting you?
Vernon Gholston: Nothing specific. Teams try to hide their interest because they don't want to leak their interest. After meeting with them, they really didn't give an indication if they liked you or didn't like you.
Rob (MS): Vernon, ESPN mock draft has you at 7 to NE. If someone told you a year ago that in this draft, you would be a Top 10 pick and go to a team that was 18-1, what would you have said to them?
Vernon Gholston: That's an odd situation. That's the only team in the top 10 that was a winning team this year. That just shows you what kind of team they are in building a team and looking to the future. For me, that would be a great situation to go to.
Blake (Cleveland, OH): What has been the biggest change from your college workouts to your NFL workouts?
Vernon Gholston: Right now, it's a lot of combine prep stuff. Running the 40 and the agility drills. When I train for football, lifting weights and getting ready for the football field. It's a different type of training. Some of it you have to do to get through the NFL draft process.
Aaron in Colorado: Who is your favorite ex-buckeye?
Vernon Gholston: It would definitely have to be Jack Tatum. He was a vicious hitter when he was here. He occasionally comes in and talks to us. It shows you that the game hasn't changed from years ago.
Brett (LA,CA): What player would you most like to have rushing the QB with you?
Vernon Gholston: No one specific. I would definitely have fantasies of me and Lawrence Taylor coming off the edge together. But hopefully I can do good things for whatever team takes me.
Adam (Vermont): You appear to be one of, if not THE best defensive player in the draft. Did you ever think you'd have a chance like this? Did you ever think you'd be this good?
Vernon Gholston: Yeah, definitely. I know I'm very detail oriented to what I do. And I have a lot of passion for what I do. The biggest thing is to have a plan for what you want to do and be disciplined. That's what I do, having a plan and going out there and executing what I have to do.
Jin (Chicago, IL): Vernon, I am a huge Michigan fan, so I hate what you've done to my team, but I have to respect your game because it is phenomenal. I know you're from Detroit, so what made you pick OSU vs. in state schools such as Michigan and Michigan State?
Vernon Gholston: The biggest thing was picking a school that was good for me. OSU had a good situation for me coming out of high school. I watched the 2002 national championship game and I think their style of play really suited me. And coach Tressel and what he embodied really made me want to play at OSU.
Mike (Mpls): What's more stressful, being recruited by colleges or the NFL draft process?
Vernon Gholston: Definitely being recruited by colleges. When you're being recruited, it's up to you where you go. You have to look at all the details. But when you're in the NFL, it's all up to the teams on where you go. It's in their hands.
Vernon Gholston: It's been great being at OSU. Being at the national championship games. Thank you for everything you've done for me and supporting me. Go Bucks!