For some reason I’ve always been kind of obsessed with the story of Vernon Gholston in the NFL. Why? Probably because it has been fun to watch in a schadenfreude kind of way. But mainly because I am a fan of the team that made the biggest draft mistake in NFL history, the San Diego Chargers. So basically I’m always looking for players who approach a Ryan Leaf level of bustdom (yes it’s a word because I say so).
Personally, I like to think New York Jets fans can kind of feel my pain. Maybe a little. Especially since now they can stop apologizing for Gholston and just unload on the guy. That’s because apparently, the Jets have had enough of the Vernon Gholston Experience after three seasons.
The Jets are apparently finally prepared to cut the No. 6 overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft loose after three awful seasons. The reason? Well there’s a ridiculous clause in his contract. If Gholston records just one sack it would trigger a $9.1 million roster bonus. He could also activate the clause with 20 percent playing time or one fumble recovery. If the Jets decline to pick up that option then Gholston would become an unrestricted free agent.
Seriously, who wrote that clause into the deal? I guess if they assumed Gholston would be a stud, then they figured they’d be willing to pay him that $9.1 million anyway. But man, looking back that has to hurt. I mean at the very least he could be special teams fodder or a garbage time option, but even Gholston could luck into a fumble recovery or a sack. That said, in 45 career games, the Ohio State product hasn’t managed to run into either.
That’s right, in 45 games, Gholston has just 42 tackles (24 solo), no sacks and no fumbles forced or recovered.
Coming out of Ohio State, Gholston was a physical freak. At 6’3 and 260-pounds he also tested off the charts at the NFL Scouting Combine. In his three year college career, he started 25 games, finished with 87 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss and had 21.5 sacks. He was a force. But I never really thought he had a true position in the NFL. He didn’t seem to have the skills of a 3-4 outside linebacker and wasn’t strong enough to play end in a 4-3. That was just my opinion though, what do I know?
After he ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the combine, put up 37 bench reps and busted out a 41-inch vertical leap, scouts were salivating.
The Jets took him with the No. 6 pick thinking they had found the perfect outside pass rusher for their 3-4 system. They signed him to a five-year contract with $21 million in guaranteed money.
Well that didn’t work out, and this year he was re-converted back to defensive end with awful results.
Sucks for the kid because he’s certainly talented and he’s just 24 years old, but if Rex Ryan can’t get anything out of him, can anyone?