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Vernon Gholston an unprecedented NFL draft bust

V. Gholston1

The news this week that the Jets will cut defensive end Vernon Gholston has given us a couple of opportunities to examine just what a monumental draft bust Gholston was.

In fact, Gholston, taken sixth overall in 2008, may have been the biggest bust of any defensive end ever selected in the NFL draft.

According to Michael Salfino of the Wall Street Journal, Gholston is the only defensive end drafted in the top 10 to fail to record a single sack since the NFL started counting sacks in 1982.

Prior to Gholston, the least productive Top 10 defensive end the NFL had seen was Reggie Rogers, who was taken seventh overall by the Lions in 1987. Rogers recorded two sacks in two seasons before the Lions cut him after he killed three people while driving drunk.

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90 Responses to “Vernon Gholston an unprecedented NFL draft bust”
  1. crackills says: Mar 1, 2011 7:55 PM

    ” rior to Gholston, the least productive Top 10 defensive end the NFL had seen was Reggie Rogers, who was taken seventh overall by the Lions in 1987. Rogers recorded two sacks in two seasons before the Lions cut him after he killed three people while driving drunk.”

    On the bright side though, Gholston didn’t kill anyone…. well.. other then the hopes and dreams of Jets fans.

  2. j0esixpack says: Mar 1, 2011 7:56 PM

    I can still hear Mangini and Tannenbaum chortling that they stole Gholston away from Belichick who let it leak that Gholston was the guy he wanted.

    Belichick instead traded back, picked up an extra draft pick and grabbed the pro-bowler he wanted for less money.

  3. smfowler says: Mar 1, 2011 7:56 PM

    Honest question as a Falcons fan who doesnt feel like googling….

    Where does Jamaal Anderson rank against Vernon Gholston.

  4. tjp2033 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:56 PM

    Someone is bound to take a shot on him because he was taken 6th overall, but what a bust. This is why the combine is stupid. The guy looked great in tights and he shot up to the 6th spot. The guy was invisible against good teams while he was in college.

    The combine can only screw a team when drafting. They get enamored with how high someone can jump or how fast they run.

  5. 1pjw says: Mar 1, 2011 7:58 PM

    My god, he hit more people driving than playing.
    Tragic all the way around.

  6. duanethomas says: Mar 1, 2011 8:00 PM

    So what! At least he played on back to back Super Bowl Champions and coached by Rex “Vince Lombardi” Ryan. GO JETS!!!!

  7. thegonz13 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:01 PM

    Overrated, overpaid and underachieving. If Rex Ryan couldn’t light a fire under this slug, forget it… no one can! Good luck finding a team that will pay you that kind of money, Vern!

  8. umbskinsfan says: Mar 1, 2011 8:01 PM

    a 4-3 team will pick him up to play DE….could be similar to andre carter….good end in the 4-3, but not cut out for either position in a 3-4

  9. sc2115 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:02 PM

    I move that from now on Gholston replaces the wrongly maligned Mike Mamula as a cautionary tale about the dangers of drafting a workout warrior.

  10. redheadedbastard says: Mar 1, 2011 8:02 PM

    Bust? That’s an understatement.

  11. billinva says: Mar 1, 2011 8:03 PM

    They thought the Pats were going to draft him, and since the Jet’s relied on the Boston papers to do their scouting for them, they drafted this turkey.

  12. jaggedmark says: Mar 1, 2011 8:07 PM

    Todd McShay got this one right. He said all along that Gholston was a high potential bust, and shouldn’t be taken anywhere near the top 20 picks.

  13. buffordtjustice says: Mar 1, 2011 8:10 PM

    At least, as far as I know, Vernon never killed anyone.

  14. graham wieja says: Mar 1, 2011 8:10 PM

    aaron maybin one . 0

  15. buffordtjustice says: Mar 1, 2011 8:11 PM

    Maybe some Jets fans with the way he played?

  16. androk23 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:12 PM

    Rogers has to be the biggest bust. 2 sacks – 3 murders actually gives him negative stats.

  17. gridassassin says: Mar 1, 2011 8:14 PM

    Not good when your name is compared to somebody who killed three people. Golston has 21 million reasons he was drafted before a rookie wage scale went into effect.

  18. 4evrnyt says: Mar 1, 2011 8:15 PM

    Rex Ryan special.

    This bust falls straight onto Ryans lap. He was his pick and his project and his failure.

  19. 4evrnyt says: Mar 1, 2011 8:17 PM

    I guess if nothing else we can say at least he never killed 3 teenagers with a BAC of .15

    He might be the biggest bust but at least he’s not a total turd of a human being like Rogers is.

  20. Burritto says: Mar 1, 2011 8:17 PM

    Go Blue!

  21. b1unt3d says: Mar 1, 2011 8:17 PM

    as per wikipedia;

    “On November 26, 2008, Rogers was involved in a hit-and-run accident in Tukwila, Washington that resulted in his arrest and a charge of DUI. It was his fifth arrest for DUI in the state of Washington, dating back to his college days at the University of Washington”

    … what a complete piece of trash.

  22. iknowfootballandyoudont says: Mar 1, 2011 8:18 PM

    Another perfect example of why a pay/slot system needs to be established in this CBA.

  23. raynman49 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:19 PM

    The Jets were stupid. This guy took alot of plays off in college. everyone knew it.

  24. chhutson27 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:23 PM

    Gholsten might actually be the biggest bust of all time. He never contributed PERIOD. Never got a sack, never started a game, never did anything. At least Russel and Leaf won a game here and there, threw TD’s, and sometimes looked somewhat like a starting QB (before doing something utterly horrendous). Vernon Gholsten never EVER looked like a viable NFL starter. Or player. Just a thought. He didn’t do the overall damage that Russel or Leaf did, considering they were QB’s, but as a single player, he might just be the biggest bust of all time.

  25. ny82jy says: Mar 1, 2011 8:23 PM

    Another gholston article. This is like the third one in the last two days. Enough already, we all know he’s terrible and a huge disappointment. Jets fans are glad he’s finally gone. I’ll say though wait till he’s done playing for good before everyone labels him the biggest bust. Some players it takes a while for it to click. He will be alot better on a 4-3 defense in my opinion.

  26. deanvernonwormer says: Mar 1, 2011 8:25 PM

    But he’s a millionaire though. And that’s really all that counts. (My guess is some team will take a chance on him and he’ll make a few more before his bust of a career is over.) Good riddance.

  27. play4blood says: Mar 1, 2011 8:25 PM

    You realize he’s been a LB since coming into the league, yeah?

    3-4 OLB =/= DE

  28. 1972wasalongtimeago says: Mar 1, 2011 8:25 PM

    Rozelle: “With the 16th pick in the first round, the New York Jets select”

    Rozelle: “Fullback”

    Jets Fans: “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

    Rozelle: “Roger Vick”

    Jets Fans: AAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!”

    Classic

  29. trevector says: Mar 1, 2011 8:26 PM

    Next stop, Oakland.

  30. iamthorny says: Mar 1, 2011 8:26 PM

    Who woulda ever thought that former Jets sideline reporter, Jenn Sterger, would leave the Big Apple with more “recorded sacks” than Vernon Gholston?

    (Thank you Brett Favre…Sterger and Strahan owe ya)

  31. minnesotablizzard says: Mar 1, 2011 8:27 PM

    Really wouldn’t mind Gholston is purple for the min contract with incentives. Ray Edwards is gone and Gholston playing 4-3 end could be interesting, worth a training camp look.

  32. cappa662 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:29 PM

    Surprised because I saw him dominate Jake Long. However, he did come from Ohio State. A school that is renowned for draft busts.

  33. elleclouds says: Mar 1, 2011 8:38 PM

    What went wrong Ghost-on? Big muscles, quick feet but couldn’t play a lick of football. Funny how guys claimed this dude beasted Jake Long (3 time probowler) in college.

  34. gbfanforever says: Mar 1, 2011 8:40 PM

    Sorry but the guy who committed vehicular manslaughter is the bigger bust.

  35. jetsclaps says: Mar 1, 2011 8:43 PM

    LOL

    I didn’t expect the last sentence of the last paragraph to end that way. I can’t help but think you were going for some very dark humor Mr. Smith.

    Well played.

  36. ingloriousmaster says: Mar 1, 2011 8:45 PM

    I have a small inkling that the Pats will pick him up (if for nothing other than sticking it to the Jets),which will thus make him an all-pro.

  37. gf2711 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:45 PM

    Well that takes Aaron Maybin off the hook as worst DE bust ever…

  38. henrypuppyhead says: Mar 1, 2011 8:46 PM

    Next up Aaron Maybin.

  39. jbaxt says: Mar 1, 2011 8:48 PM

    I thought killing someone while intoxicated got you a contract extension? Or is that only in St. Louis?

  40. jbaxt says: Mar 1, 2011 8:48 PM

    I thought killing someone while intoxicated got you a contract extension? Or is that only in St. Louis?

  41. fthrvic says: Mar 1, 2011 8:51 PM

    I’d put him right up there with Andre Wadsworth (#3 overall with 8 career sacks).

  42. joemontanawasthegreatest says: Mar 1, 2011 8:57 PM

    Well at least Gholston can never be the failure at life that Rogers was.

    Rogers had major issues.

  43. lumas101 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:58 PM

    Good thing for the Bills and Aaron Maybin they took him at 11 and not 10 so he can stay off this list.

  44. joecoz17 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:59 PM

    aaron maybin will be a close number 2 soon

  45. twan7272 says: Mar 1, 2011 9:07 PM

    Rogers recorded two sacks in two seasons before the Lions cut him after he killed three people while driving drunk.

    What the french, toast?

  46. profootballwalk says: Mar 1, 2011 9:14 PM

    Kenneth “Game Day” Simms of the Patriots. He did get 15 sacks in 8 years, but he was the first overall pick, and he never did anything special. He only played a full year once. Not as bad as no sacks at all, but higher expectations.

    There was another D-lineman who was drafted very high and was a huge bust in the 1970s, I’m pretty sure.

  47. southridge23 says: Mar 1, 2011 9:23 PM

    Well Vernon…at least you didn’t kill anybody!

  48. dewalt2990 says: Mar 1, 2011 9:28 PM

    The Lions have been bested!!

  49. dewalt2990 says: Mar 1, 2011 9:29 PM

    And no ones going to want to sign him, he makes a 9.1m bonus if he records a sack.

  50. kleppnasty says: Mar 1, 2011 9:32 PM

    4evrnyt…. What are you talking about. How is he Rex’s guy if Rex was still coaching in Balt when this turd of a player was drafted?

  51. sah0620 says: Mar 1, 2011 9:33 PM

    Jamal Reynolds (10th overall) was a world beater with 3.0 sacks in his 3 year Packers career!

  52. bigtrav425 says: Mar 1, 2011 9:46 PM

    so 2 yrs and he is a bust? the guy is what 24 or 25 yrsold? maybe he just needs some better coaching then the circus over at the Jets camp…and as we talkin about Busts you guys have obviously never herad of “Big Money” Gerard Warren of the Browns…yea he has been in the league but didnt even come close to living up to expectations and i think he was the number 3 pick maybe 2? i dont remember

  53. ny82jy says: Mar 1, 2011 9:47 PM

    4evrnyt says:
    Mar 1, 2011 8:15 PM
    Rex Ryan special.

    This bust falls straight onto Ryans lap. He was his pick and his project and his failure.
    —————————————————————-
    Ny82jy says

    What the hell are you talking about. Gholston was Manginis
    Pick, he had to have him. Ryan wasn’t even the coach when he was drafted. Man get your facts straight cause you sound really stupid!

  54. deconjonesbitchslap says: Mar 1, 2011 9:47 PM

    PROOF the combine is overrated.

  55. ohkhan says: Mar 1, 2011 9:59 PM

    chhutson27 says:
    Mar 1, 2011 8:23 PM
    Gholsten might actually be the biggest bust of all time. He never contributed PERIOD. Never got a sack, never started a game, never did anything

    He did start at least one game in 2009 when Calvin Pace was suspended

    4evrnyt says:
    Mar 1, 2011 8:15 PM
    Rex Ryan special.

    This bust falls straight onto Ryans lap. He was his pick and his project and his failure.

    It was Eric Mangini’s pick…you should really not try to act like you know what you’re talking about, even giving it it’s own name “rex ryan special” when you don’t have your facts right…

  56. mousetrap08 says: Mar 1, 2011 9:59 PM

    The Tony Mandrich of defense

  57. p4ck3r5 says: Mar 1, 2011 10:05 PM

    no sacks in a couple years? he sucks

  58. rcali says: Mar 1, 2011 10:20 PM

    College DE’s who get moved to LB for the 3-4 defense are doomed for failure.

  59. duffer58 says: Mar 1, 2011 10:27 PM

    Everyone has busts. You just hope they are not top 10 picks with millions online.

  60. andyreidisfat says: Mar 1, 2011 10:32 PM

    I guess the fact that this guy is a lineman and not a linebacker has nothing to do with the fact he struggled. My guess is the guy will sign with a team and be a pretty good player. Some guys can only be defensive ends in 4-3. Not all guys can make that switch. If you to Harrison who no doubt is great player as a 3-4 backer and put him at backer or end in 4-3 i don’t think the guy plays well at all.

    I think its really unfair to call the guy a bust when he is out of position his whole career. Now if he goes to a 4-3 and doesn’t play well then you can talk but lets give the guy a chance. Look at his former teammate Jason Taylor who was a beast when he played an end position and when he was at the jets last year he looked really bad. Its tough for these guys to take on all that comes with coverage when they should just be downline rush guys.

    You only show your lack of knowledge when you call this kid a bust for the reasons i layed out. It would be more correct to call Mangini’s drafting and scouting skills a bust since he took a guy who is clearly an end and made him a linebacker. But alas i guess we will wait and see. But as an Eagles fan i would take him in a min.

  61. jc1958cool says: Mar 1, 2011 10:38 PM

    gholston & russel have made the rookie salary cap!!!

  62. ch19079 says: Mar 1, 2011 10:43 PM

    This is why the Combine is a HORRIBLE place to judge players. Noone cared about Gholston before the went to the combine. Then everyone loved him.

    If a guy does not produce on film in college, he will not produce on the field in the NFL.

    There are thousands of long jumpers and sprinters who can not play football. Looks like the Jets found one too.

    Note: A. Maybin (OLB) 11th overall pick in 2009 has 0 sacks and will likely be cut this year.

  63. dirtdawg55 says: Mar 1, 2011 10:48 PM

    This is how bad Gholston has been to date. Out of 192 players drafted as defensive linemen (including nose tackle) in the first round (never mind the top ten) since 1982, only 9 have ever failed to register a sack. Nine!

    And out of those nine, seven (including Gholston) were drafted in 2007 or later. Put that in perspective. That means until Gholston’s draft year only two defensive linemen drafted in the first round failed to record a sack – Shawn Knight and Leonard Renfro. Two! In 25 years.

    Ouch.

  64. tmillhone says: Mar 1, 2011 11:06 PM

    …have we all forgotten about Courtney Brown? I mean the man was a #1 OVERALL pick after all.

  65. billsfan1 says: Mar 1, 2011 11:26 PM

    he is the new mike mamula…. actually he is more of how mike mamula is depicted than mamula himself….. Mamula was a fairly serviceable pro… his only issue was value for where he was drafted. had he been a 2nd or 3rd rounder…..well he wouldnt have the rep he has…

    gholston on the other hand has been terrible..a bust in every definition of the word…. hell even aaron maybin thinks gholston was terrible

  66. billsfan1 says: Mar 1, 2011 11:29 PM

    Todd McShay got this one right. He said all along that Gholston was a high potential bust, and shouldn’t be taken anywhere near the top 20 picks.

    175 i
    he would be considered a bust if he had been mr irrelevant….

  67. bcgreg says: Mar 1, 2011 11:35 PM

    Wadsworth was kind of a bust, but his career was cut short by injuries. I try not to label guys busts when injuries derail their career.

  68. bcgreg says: Mar 1, 2011 11:45 PM

    Mamula wasn’t a bust either. Did he live up to the 7th overall pick? Maybe not, but in 5 years, he had 31.5 sacks, 1 INT that he returned for a TD, 8 FF, 6 FR returning 1 for a TD. Not bad when you consider that he was a projected 2nd-4th round pick heading into that draft. It’s not his or any other player’s fault for that matter that he had a good combine workout and the team that drafted him over-evaluated those numbers. His career was shortened by injuries on top of that.

    He was another guy who played DE at Boston College and moved to OLB in the NFL. It’s a tough transition.

    It took Mike Vrabel 3-4 years to make that transition, and he had to switch teams to do it (moving from Pittsburgh to NE). Maybe Gholston needed out of NY to escape the workout hype and the pressures of being the 6th overall pick. Who knows? But, let’s give the kid a chance–say 3 more years (that’ll make a 5 year sample).

  69. ramcountry says: Mar 1, 2011 11:59 PM

    Absolutely stunning. I still keep my draft mags from years gone by to remind me about draft hype.
    PFW in 2008 raved about this guy. “More upside than any player in the draft.”

    Yikes.

    As to the people arguing a change of position would resurrect Gholston’s career, you obviously haven’t visited the Wall Street link. There’s no precedent for something like that, at least not in the past 25 years.

  70. biggregg44 says: Mar 2, 2011 12:55 AM

    rcali says: Mar 1, 2011 10:20 PM

    College DE’s who get moved to LB for the 3-4 defense are doomed for failure.

    what are you talking about? you do realize that Demarcus Ware, Lemar Woodley, Terrell Suggs, Tamba Hali, (among) were all DE’s in college right? sure looks like they turned into damn good 3 -4 OLB’s

  71. carnagekong says: Mar 2, 2011 2:47 AM

    Lavar Arrington wasn’t a bust when it comes to making a fool of himself on MTV

  72. phillyfinsfan says: Mar 2, 2011 4:22 AM

    Draftin ain’t easy

  73. Akula says: Mar 2, 2011 6:05 AM

    Where the heck did you find the picture of him making a tackle. Good work guys!!!

  74. zackd2 says: Mar 2, 2011 7:40 AM

    “Belichick instead traded back, picked up an extra draft pick and grabbed the pro-bowler he wanted for less money.”

    Yeah, that was his plan all along.

    Same thing with: Lawrence Maroney. Chad Jackson. Butler. Cunningham. etc.

  75. dukeofthedawgpound says: Mar 2, 2011 8:06 AM

    Actually, Maybin has not recorded a sack as of yet and Gholston was picked while Mangini was still with the Jets.

  76. joekoolade says: Mar 2, 2011 8:37 AM

    Have you forgotten about Courtney Brown!?!? He has to be the biggest bust!

  77. yahmule says: Mar 2, 2011 8:50 AM

    Reggie Rogers made the mistake of not being as good at pro football as Leonard Little. Justice in this country is applied differently depending upon your level of celebrity. Just ask that widower in St Louis.

  78. bigtrav425 says: Mar 2, 2011 8:55 AM

    wow my spelling and grammar were horrible on my post last night lol

  79. baboushka says: Mar 2, 2011 12:46 PM

    This guy is not an “unprecedented” bust yet. He’s only 25 and may turn it on somewhere else. You never know until the 5 year hurdle has been reached. The unprecedented ones are:
    1. Ryan Leaf
    2. Tony Mandarich
    3. Brian Bosworth
    4. All Matt Millen 1st round draft choices in Detroit
    5. Aundray Bruce
    6. Alex Smith
    7. Carr (Texans QB or was he part of Millen Dt?)
    8. Kyle Boller

    The list is very long before you get to Gholston.

  80. joeypickles says: Mar 2, 2011 3:29 PM

    Thank God for…

    D’Brick
    Mangold
    Revis &
    Harris

    to lesson the blow of this Tanny pick!!!

  81. b1unt3d says: Mar 2, 2011 4:54 PM

    To the 4 people who voted my post down; what’s it like to have to rely on public transit/a schwinn to get around?

  82. cpoled says: Mar 3, 2011 4:03 PM

    Gholston was such an unproductive bust that he couldn’t even, in three years, achieve a simple clause in his contract.
    ” Adam Schefter reminded everyone today that Gholston had a clause built into his contract (before the 2010 season) that would award him a $9 million bonus if he simply recorded one sack. Or caused a fumble. Or a recovered a fumble. Or caught an interception.”
    While Gholston had the NFL measurables, he also played with the passion of Ferdinand the Bull.

  83. bcgreg says: Mar 3, 2011 6:10 PM

    @ biggregg44

    For every, Woodley, Ware, Suggs you name, I can name Jerry Hughes, Larry English, Cameron Maybin, Kalimba Edwards, Calvin Pace, and Manny Lawson.

  84. mike32303 says: Mar 4, 2011 12:23 AM

    @zackd2

    I hope ur not talkin about Jermaine Cunningham as a bust. He just played his first season and pretty much forced Peyton into that pick against NE this year. And i do guarantee he baited the Jets into getting Gholston because he knows Mangina and knew he’d prolly take him. And im willing to bet this guy would become a better player in NE. But he ll prolly end up in Oakland or Cincy lol

  85. billsfan1 says: Mar 5, 2011 10:29 AM

    I’m not aware of Cameron maybin….hopefully he is better than aaron

  86. bvolke says: Mar 6, 2011 7:40 PM

    Aaron Maybin and Vernon Gholston are the worst picks at defensive end in history.

  87. ihateannouncers says: Mar 7, 2011 2:05 AM

    How can he be the biggest bust of all time 3 years into a career?? He isn’t a LB, and will most likely go to a 4-3 defense and be a solid DE. He will end up somewhere in the NFL because of his talent potential, AND his low pay that he is going to have to accept to get another chance.
    ===================================
    cappa662 says:
    Mar 1, 2011 8:29 PM

    … A school that is renowned for draft busts
    ===================================

    Pretty ignorant comment here….Most schools have had guys bust in the NFL. Some schools have more players drafted than others, so they would have higher bust numbers. Renowned??? I don’t think so….

  88. xxchaos32xx says: Mar 7, 2011 10:44 PM

    Although calling Gholston a bust would be correct, I dont think the guy ever really had a chance. He was never fit to play a 3-4 style defense like the draft “experts” said he was.

    This is NOT a shot at Jets fans or the Jets team (my Packers run a 3-4 too), I am just saying that if he had been draft by a team with a 4-3 defense…. things may have been different.

  89. pastortree says: Aug 8, 2011 7:59 PM

    This is months behind but must be said. Gholston was an outside backer in the 3-4 with Mangini in 08 and Ryan in 09. In 2010 Gholston took a pay cut (I think to league minimum but definitely not far from it) and moved to DE. Guy has been really unproductive but at least he wants to pay football. JaMarcus Russell is the biggest bust/rat that ever put on pads. New formula: Be picked 1st overall + get payed + start sipping on syrup like 36 mafia= JaMarcus Russell

  90. pastortree says: Aug 8, 2011 8:05 PM

    That last post should say that “at least he wants to PLAY football” not “pay football”. So close.

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