Positives: Has a well-built frame with a wide back, broad shoulders, V-shaped torso, large hands, long limbs, defined muscles throughout and thick thighs and calves...Excellent speed rusher who needs to be accounted for on every play and has good field presence, locating the ball quickly to fly to it and contain the run...Has the ability to consistently disrupt the backfield, as he has the speed to escape and the strength to overpower offensive tackles off the edge...Plays with the type of effort and emotion that makes a coach comfortable knowing that he will make plays all over the field...Has great flexibility and balance working down the line and changing direction...Has a low center of gravity and strong anchor, making it very rare to see him on the ground...When he is taken off of his feet, he is quick to recover and get back into the action...Has loose hips, good knee bend and balance in his running stride when chasing long distances...Has rare ability to run the field for a player his size and can be sudden in his initial movement...Shows the in-line range and low pad level to shoot the gaps, playing with leverage when competing at the point of attack...Shows the effort to impact the play even if he doesn't make the tackle...Plays with a high motor and shows a natural feel for the game, as he continues to improve his ability to anticipate and jump the play...Self-starter with a great passion for the game and is a hard worker in the training room...While very confident in his ability, he is also a humble character with no off-field issues...Rare to see him talk trash and just goes about his business...Has a sudden first step to defeat an offensive tackle coming off the edge and the uncanny ability to anticipate the snap cadence and time his jumps...His low center of gravity lets him consistently shoot the gaps...Has that good blend of quickness and strength to hold ground at the point of attack...Has the quickness to penetrate when working inside and is very disruptive coming off the snap, as he is quick and active with his hand punch to rock the bigger blockers back on their heels...Could punch and shed blockers sooner but he can get upfield and collide with the ballcarrier with good pop on contact...Has the lower-body flexibility to drop his weight and leverage at the point, displaying the body control needed to split double teams...Generally uses his hands effectively to shed and separate, as he battles until the whistle...Can close in a hurry in the short area and takes good angles in pursuit to make plays outside the box...Has the speed to flatten and chase from the backside or the outside...Strong wrap-up tackler who can adjust in space and finish plays on his own...Consistently plays on his feet and is very quick coming off the edge, as he can turn the corner, showing the flexibility and counter moves (must be more consistent with the counter) to come under and also has the strength to bull rush or push the pocket...Is starting to develop a good feel for his pass-rush package (still needs to rely on those moves more) and knows how to keep his hands off and get free...Also capable of maintaining inside position when he sinks his pads...Has the second gear to close on the pocket and, while he gets most of his sacks off backside pursuit, he is also able to take an in-line gap to impact the backfield.
Negatives: Has loose hips to drop back in pass coverage, but when he gets too tall in his backpedal, he fails to get a clean turn coming out of his breaks...Instinctive player, but is still a relatively new to the game and needs more reps to help him gain experience, as he relies on his athletic ability...Has improved his technique, but can't be considered a technician using his hands or displaying an array of pass rush moves...Must develop a better feel for blocking schemes, as he doesn't always protect his body from cut blocks and is not yet consistent at splitting double teams...Can be fooled by misdirection and while he gives total effort, he sometimes can't find the ball until it is past him.
Compares To: JOHN ABRAHAM-Atlanta...Both players rely on a perfect blend of strength and suddenness off the snap to wreak havoc in the backfield. He has a relentless motor in pursuit. If he had more on-field experience, he could be an outstanding linebacker at the next level. However, with teams looking for hybrid Cover-2 pass rushers, he is perfectly capable of impacting the backfield coming off the edge or dropping back into the zone to cover vs. the pass. He is still a raw talent that gets by on his athletic ability, but in a few years, with patient coaching and more experience, he has the potential to change the game, much like Abraham, Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis) and Jason Taylor (Miami) have done playing in that role.
Finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation's premier defensive end…All-Big Ten Conference first-team choice by the league's coaches and media…Started twelve games at the "Leo" (rush end) position, coming off the bench vs. Purdue…Guided a unit that led the nation in total defense (233.0 ypg), scoring defense (12.77 ppg), pass defense (150.15 ypg) and finished third in rushing defense (82.85 ypg)…He ranked tied for third in the nation, as he set ther school season-record with fourteen sacks for minus 111 yards…His 15.5 stops for losses of 113 yards led the team and ranked eighth in the conference…Also had one fumble recovery that he advanced 25 yards for a touchdown…Made just three plays vs. the pass, but on 35 running plays directed at him, the opposition was held to minus 41 yards (-1.17 ypc)…Four of his tackles came on third-down plays, adding two stops on goal-line plays…The opposition managed just four first downs in his territory, including three on the ground.
One of the strongest players in the draft, benching 225 pounds 37 times. He also runs in the 4.5-4.6 range which is great for a defensive end or linebacker. The only question mark in his game is whether he is best suited to be a DE or a LB in a 3-4 defense.
Some people think he will be better in the 3-4 because of his quickness and the fact that he's a bit shorter than your average star defensive end. There is some worry that bigger tackles will engulf him at the point of attack on a consistent basis. That being said, many do think he can succeed at DE.
The 3-4 linebacker spot on the outside might very well be his best position, however. He is so big and strong that when he gets a head start on his man, the force he generates is often too much for the opposing linemen to stop. He will be a productive NFL player right off the bat.
So did you guess his name? Vernon Gholston, a player we would be stupid not to draft. Consider this just a little warning about pre-draft hype.