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Rex Ryan reflects on Vernon Gholston

Houston Texans v  New York Jets Getty Images

During the lockout, teams can’t talk to current players.  But they can talk about former players.  And since there’s not much for us to talk about, a team talking about a former player can provide the foundation for a blurb.

Tim Graham of ESPN.com posted on Friday an item regarding comments made by Jets coach Rex Ryan regarding former linebacker/defensive end Vernon Gholston last month at the league meetings.  Graham characterizes Ryan as “a little defensive” regarding his inability to craft Gholston into a good player.

When Ryan became the Jets head coach a year after Gholston arrived via the sixth pick in the 2008 draft, Ryan compared the player to Ravens linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs, who struggled at first after being taken high in the draft, but who eventually flourished under Ryan.  That same change didn’t happen for Gholston.

“I think Vernon improved,” Ryan told Graham.  “Last year, I thought he gained strides.  Unfortunately, I never knew this when we picked up Trevor [Pryce] 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.”

Of course, the Jets wouldn’t have been so willing to pounce on Pryce if Gholston had been showing promise.  And for all the positive things Ryan said, it didn’t keep the Jets from dumping Gholston.

Asked whether Ryan failed in making Gholston into a good player, Ryan said, “Well, then I failed as far as the numbers go.  But I thought he got better, though.  We’ll see what happens to him.  He’s not done playing.”

And so it seems that Ryan is rooting for Gholston to turn it around, even if it means that the improvement will come with, say, the Patriots, the team we firmly believe duped the Jets into taking Gholston at a time when the two teams had back-to-back picks.

G.M. Mike Tannenbaum also seems to be hoping that Gholston will turn it around, while still acknowledging that it was a mistake to take him so high.

“I think Vernon still has the chance to have a productive NFL career,” Tannenbaum told Graham at the league meetings.  “Obviously, he didn’t play to the level of the sixth pick in the draft, but he’s a great kid. His career is far from over. . . .  We’ll have to look at our scouting process and have to see what we can learn from that experience.”

Given that Gholston was drafted three years ago and given that it was obvious fairly quickly that he wasn’t as good as advertised, you’d think the Jets would have done that right away, as in before the next draft.

Multiple factors seemed to contribute to Gholston’s struggles.  As Ryan pointed out to Graham, the shift from 4-3 defensive end to the 3-4 system contributed to Gholston’s inability to excel.  But deeper problems existed.  Gholston was the proverbial workout warrior, wowing scouts with his chiseled physique and T-shirts-and-shorts exploits but not showing consistent domination on film from his time at Ohio State.  Also, we’ve heard Gil Brandt on Sirius NFL Radio explain that Gholston didn’t seem to be a guy with the passion to play pro football at the highest level, explaining that the University of Michigan didn’t recruit the Detroit native due to concerns that he wasn’t fully committed to the sport.

The Jets nevertheless were infatuated with Gholston, perhaps because they believed that the Patriots were, too.  The grift will be completed if the Patriots indeed give Gholston a second chance and turn him into a great player, like they did last year with former Jet Danny Woodhead.

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29 Responses to “Rex Ryan reflects on Vernon Gholston”
  1. ny82jy says: Apr 9, 2011 7:13 PM

    Whoever wants him take him. If he plays better good for him and the team that picked him up . But I will never regret the jets dumping him and I am glad that he is FINALLY off the team.

  2. kevo126 says: Apr 9, 2011 7:33 PM

    “Ryan compared the player to Ravens linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs, who struggled at first after being taken high in the draft, but who eventually flourished under Ryan.”

    suggs had 12 sacks his rookie year and was defensive rookie of the year. how is that struggling???? wow.

  3. dewalt2990 says: Apr 9, 2011 7:37 PM

    Sounds like square peg syndrome to me.

  4. patriotsdefense says: Apr 9, 2011 7:38 PM

    “The Jets nevertheless were infatuated with Gholston, perhaps because they believed that the Patriots were, too. The grift will be completed if the Patriots indeed give Gholston a second chance and turn him into a great player, like they did last year with former Jet Danny Woodhead.”

    Is it me or did i just hear the sound of millions of NY Jets fan jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge? I think the Patriots will pick up Gholston and them drop him a couple weeks into camp. The guy can’t play and you can’t teach talent which he has little off. But 6th overall came with straight cash hommie. guy should be set if he doesnt spend it like dez bryant.

  5. hobartbaker says: Apr 9, 2011 8:12 PM

    Gholston reflects on Ryan.

    Badly.

  6. raynman49 says: Apr 9, 2011 8:14 PM

    There were red flags all over the place before that draft. Just a bad job by the Jets. He took plays off in college. Why didn’t they see that?

  7. tonyinmd says: Apr 9, 2011 8:15 PM

    Terrell Suggs struggled at first? You mean being the defensive rookie of the year and 12 sacks your first year is struggling? Wow…

  8. saberstud75 says: Apr 9, 2011 8:32 PM

    VG= Epic BUST

    Zero sacks, forced fumbles, or fumble recoveries in 3 seasons…. Total.

  9. stupadassle says: Apr 9, 2011 8:48 PM

    Great Player? Danny Woodhead is a great player? Come on.

  10. mataug says: Apr 9, 2011 9:06 PM

    I haven’t heard a bad thing(as in off field issues) about him, so hopefully he invested his money wisely.

  11. paulieorkid says: Apr 9, 2011 9:26 PM

    It always kills me how that even now in the 21st century, a segment of NFL personnel people chub up over what a player looks like in his undies – or – how many times said player can press two and a quarter – or – who can figure out how much time it will take before two choo choos collide going 30 mph and 45 mph from opposing directions on the same rail starting 15 miles apart. [The answer is 12 minutes to that last one.]

    A real key to projecting who can play on Sundays is who actually PRODUCED on Saturdays.

    No question: it’s not that simple and there are other factors and indeed shades of grey are involved. However, identifying those who could PLAY on Saturdays – goes a long way toward identifying who actually had the intestinal fortitude to drive himself to compete at the highest level in a collision sport.

    For Gholston, he had physical gifts few experience – yet he was Vernon Inconspicuous when he was going up against the 20 year old Bob Wozniak OLs of Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota, etc. So of course, he wasn’t going to fare well playing against the big boys on Sundays.

    And don’t look it up – there is no real Bob Wozniak. Just a “Grabowski” type of name to make a point.

  12. duffer58 says: Apr 9, 2011 9:33 PM

    Not every pick works out. Every team misses some. Pats duped Jets? LOL
    Where do you come up with such nonsense?

  13. tfbuckfutter says: Apr 9, 2011 11:19 PM

    The Patriots are going to act interested just to get Brad Childress to sign him….

    To play on his bowling team.

  14. raiderapologist says: Apr 9, 2011 11:22 PM

    I guess it’s nice they didn’t go out of their way to bash the kid for sucking so much. But it’s just one player. I would trade JaMarcus Russell and Darrius Hayward-Bey for Gholston straight up.

  15. brownsfrown says: Apr 9, 2011 11:57 PM

    Draft bust?

    A former Jet?

    He has a home in Cleveland with the Clowns!!

  16. deljzc says: Apr 10, 2011 12:18 AM

    Everyone talks about his “Saturdays” but he did have 14 sacks his last year at OSU.

    Gholston is actually a nice guy. He tries hard to make everyone around him happy. Even though football wasn’t his passion look how far his athletic ability actually got him.

    The guy just didn’t have that “Michael Jordan” competitive gene that would have made him a good (maybe great) NFL player. He lacked instincts to just “let go” on the football field and let his athleticism and competitive juice just take over. That wasn’t the way he was wired.

    Believe me, the Jets weren’t the only team that liked Gholston. If they didn’t take him someone else in the top 10 would have, maybe even the mad genius Belichick (we never really will know that).

  17. waldoampere says: Apr 10, 2011 12:22 AM

    “Gholston reflects on Ryan.”

    Gholston was drafted by Mangini.

  18. lostsok says: Apr 10, 2011 12:37 AM

    His career is far from over? Well…I guess someone MIGHT need a special teams backup player…

  19. stairwayto7 says: Apr 10, 2011 12:42 AM

    Another overrated bust Ohio Stae player in the NFL!

  20. andyreidisfat says: Apr 10, 2011 2:05 AM

    I have said it before and I will say it again. Ihope This guy goes to a team that plays a 4-3 and gets a bunch of reps playing where he should DE. I think he might be able to play. I am still not sure why the jets took him. He never fit a 3-4 linebacker or a 3-4 DE.

    Good luck to him and hope he gets himself in the right situation.

  21. ihateannouncers says: Apr 10, 2011 2:57 AM

    He has plenty of talent, but is obviously missing the desire to excel at the NFL level. Hard to believe he couldn’t pick it up under Ryans’ coaching, but I don’t believe he is done yet. He will go cheap to another team and will get another chance to prove he is not a bust.
    ===================================
    stairwayto7 says:
    Apr 10, 2011 12:42 AM
    Another overrated bust Ohio Stae player in the NFL!

    ===================================

    Not sure where this comes from, other than the fact that TOSU has more players drafted to the NFL than 80-90% of the rest of the NCAA so I guess it would figure that they would have more busts than most schools. I would wager that other schools in this category (Miami,USC, Tennessee, etc) would have similar numbers.

    P.S. Hey stairway, where did your last SB MVP go to school??

  22. reticarga says: Apr 10, 2011 4:38 AM

    He was a total bust but I think some people are a bit revisionist about what their initial assessment of the player. Seems like a lot more people are calling it a bad pick now than in 2008.

    He was very productive at Ohio State and Kiper and PFW both had him rated as the top DE. Despite the plays off and lack of violence in his game etc.

  23. blackglass3 says: Apr 10, 2011 9:17 AM

    Don’t like the Jets, but you can’t blame Rex for Gholston. It was the previous piece of crap head coach and current piece of crap owner/GM that saddled Rex with that gutless punk.

    You can coach until you’re blue in the face; if the guy has no heart he’s got no shot in the NFL. Rex, Belichick, hell even the ghost of Vince Lombardi can’t change that.

  24. zackd2 says: Apr 10, 2011 9:48 AM

    Pats “duped” the Jets, just like Kraft claims he knew what he was getting with Brady in the 6th round.

  25. blazklobucar says: Apr 10, 2011 11:39 AM

    That picture at the top, VG sacking Matt Schaub is a bit misleading, don’t you think? I don’t think he ever got this close to a QB.

  26. pondbridge says: Apr 10, 2011 11:45 AM

    Watch BB transform him into a credible DE or even (gasp) right tackle on offense.

  27. mizzousooner says: Apr 10, 2011 12:09 PM

    I agree with some of the others, to my knowledge Gholston isn’t a bad dude and if he has handled his money well he should be in good shape financially.

    His only real problem is that he was picked about 5 rounds to early in the draft, which happens multiple times each year. The switch to the 3-4 probably didn’t do him any favors either.

  28. j0esixpack says: Apr 10, 2011 1:24 PM

    Funny to watch Jets fans throw Mangini under the bus, as he did draft Gholston and he and Tannenbaum got tricked by Belichick.

    But Jets fans also know that Rex Ryan promised to turn things around with Gholston

    Of course, by now Jets fans know what Ryan’s “promises” are worth

  29. rc33 says: Apr 10, 2011 1:36 PM

    The Patriots talked up Ghoulston plenty prior to the draft despite having a glaring need for ILB’s.
    There was talk about his athleticism might allowing to move inside and how Belichick loves big LB’s.
    After Ghoulston went at #6, New England traded down 3 spots, picking up an extra third rounder, then taking the guy they wanted all along (Mayo).
    No one else needed an ILB between the 7th and 11th picks and the Patriots were smart enough to parlay that difference into something.
    Botttom line was N.E. had to replace Bruschi, Seau and others that offseason. Picking a position change candidate at with the 7th pick would’ve been beyond a huge gamble, to the point where you were certain it was a smokescreen.

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