Vernon Gholston was an absolute monster in college. In his last college season, he recorded 14 sacks and was the only man to record a sack against, consensus number one pick, Jack Long. Gholston's combination of size (6'4'', 265,) speed (4.58 40) and stregnth (37 reps) made him a highly coveted prospect. The only knock on him was the fact that he hadn't played football his whole life and needed work on coverage and was thus labeled a bit of a project. However. after only two seasons, fans and the media alike are not happy with how the project has been coming along.
Today, the Star Ledger reported that some members within the Jets are considering parting ways with Gholson. If the Jets chose to due the latter, I'm sure there wouldn't be much of an outcry considering that many fans and media members alike believe that Gholston "either doesn’t care or doesn’t understand the magnitude of his non-production." In fact, if anyone brings up some current Jets that were labelled as busts before breaking out this year, such as D'Brickashaw or Pouha, a common counter is "The difference is that POUHA LOVES the game and loves to compete. The GHOST is a workout warrior and does not LOVE contact or the sport." I really can't stand arguments like that. How can we, as fans, glean that Gholston doesn't love the game? Is his medicore play and his enjoyment of working out really proof that he doesn't love the game? Mets OF Jeff Francoeur loves country music and has stated that he'd trade being a baseball player for being a country singer, but I've never heard fans question Frenchy's love.
"The thing is with Vernon, he's the type of person where he's got the same demeanor every day," Pace said. "If something is funny, he's got the same demeanor. If something's bad, he's got the same demeanor. So, I always was like, 'Man, it's just hard to read him.' Then I'm thinking like, well, 'Does he like to play?' Because everybody plays for different reasons, whether it's for money or fame, whatever. But you play for something. I know he likes to play. He takes notes, he watches film. Everybody believes in (Gholston). Really, it's just getting to the point where he says, 'All right, I can do this.' "
If you're quiet and good, it's confidence; if you're quiet and bad, it's indifference. Pace believes in him and while these past two seasons have been rough for Vernon, Pace is exactly the man that can help guide Gholston to his potential. Calvin Pace was a three year starter for Wake Forest. His senior season saw him complie 73 tackles including 8 sacks. Just like Gholston, the numbers didn't justify the potential as Pace was also in peak physical shape and according to Senior Manager who had an English class with Calvin, "he had hands like anvils." Thus, when the Cardinals drafted Pace 18th overall, there were many fans disappointed with what they considered a reach. In order to justify the pick and also a reflection of their poor defense, Pace started all 16 games of his rookie season, recording only 25 tackles and just one sack. Pace would lose his starting job and wouldn't be a regular starter for the next three seasons. By 2007, after 4 seasons in the NFL, Pace was a 27 year old veteran with only 68 total tackles, the definition of a bust. As we all know, Pace broke out in his 5th NFL season, doubling all of his career numbers and signing a (at the time, though I think most fans forgot) questionably lucarative deal with the Jets.
While it's impossible to say if Gholston is going to follow a path similar to Pace, it's also impossible to say if he's going to follow the path of Brian Bosworth.