Rich Cimini says Eric Mangini was a driving force behind the team selecting Vernon Gholston.
So it has come to this for Gholston, the sixth pick of the 2008 draft: He's extra baggage. But he continues to play because sitting him would be a self-indictment for a team paying him $21million in guarantees. It's a cover-your-backside move, not uncommon in the NFL.
Here's the troubling part: Gholston's lack of progress isn't surprising to some in the organization. Now we're hearing he wasn't a popular choice to begin with. Opinions in the draft room were mixed on Gholston, but the Jets picked him because then-coach Eric Mangini lobbied hard, according to multiple sources.
"That one's on Eric," one source said.
Now they have a potential bust on their hands. Asked if Mangini was the driving force behind the Gholston choice, GM Mike Tannenbaum said, "On all draft decisions, I have the final say. But, organizationally, we felt good about Vernon. Although his rate of improvement isn't where we want it to be, we're still happy he's here and we feel good about his future."
It's not on Mangini. If Tannenbaum has the final say, it's on him. It's ultimately his responsibility to decide which advice to take and which to ignore. There were warning signs on Gholston.
With that said, you can't jump on Tannenbaum too hard. He's been right on too many major moves. Plus the Jets weren't the only team fooled by Gholston. He was a consensus top ten pick for a reason, a ton of scouts thought he was going to be a dominant force.