Posted by Josh Katzowitz
One of the biggest – or, at least, most highly-publicized – draft busts in the past few years was Jets DE Vernon Gholston’s inability to turn his talent into anything resembling even a journeyman career in the NFL.
As ESPN.com’s Tim Graham points out, Gholston, a No. 6 pick in 2008, started only five games in his career and recorded exactly zero sacks. In fact, we wrote about it in Hot Routes last month when it was discovered he could have unlocked a $9 million escalator bonus by simply recording a sack, a fumble recovery or a forced fumble. He didn’t, of course.
All along, Jets coach Rex Ryan thought if anybody could develop Gholston, he could be the coach to do it. When talking with Graham a few weeks ago, Ryan apparently got a little defensive talking about the fact he couldn’t mold Gholston into the player Ryan wanted him to be.
To be fair, Gholston was a 4-3 DE at Ohio State but then moved to the 3-4 LB position under former Jets coach Eric Mangini before moving to the 3-4 DE spot in Ryan’s defense. So, yeah, he moved around a little bit. But still …
"I think Vernon improved," Ryan told Graham. "Last year, I thought he gained strides. Unfortunately, I never knew this when we picked up Trevor (Price) and he played well for us, but that took a little away from Vernon. We had Shaun Ellis, so it was kind of hard to get [Gholston] more reps.
"But the guy is an excellent teammate. He did what was asked and he got better.”
Graham then asked if Ryan had failed with Gholston.
"Well, then I failed as far as the numbers go," Ryan said. "But I thought he got better, though. We'll see what happens to him. He's not done playing.
"I think I've had a long list of guys I've developed in my coaching career. Some guys develop faster than others. But I'll put how I coach up against anybody in this league when it comes to defense and technique."
Gholston likely will get another chance in the league. But obviously it remains to be seen if someone other than Ryan can unlock the talent that apparently lies in Gholston’s body.
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