Training Camp Q & A: Vernon Gholston

Is this the year for Gholston to step-up?

GWR's Kristian Dyer will respond to questions posted on the message boards based on the first week of training camp.

The Jets started camp in much the same way they finished their season – with a strong defense and an offense predicated on simplicity and churning out yards.

From the message boards of GreenAndWhiteReport.com, site publisher Kristian Dyer answers your questions based on the first three days on training camp in Cortland.

Q: What's Vernon Gholston looking like?

A: What is Gholston looking like? Well, he's about 6'3 and weighing somewhere in the mid-260's. He's a pretty big guy. He sort of looks like a young…oh, you meant on the field? Ahhh, me funny guy.

Let's get this out there first and foremost – Vernon Gholston was a defensive end at Ohio State who because of his athleticism and speed, many draft experts thought could play linebacker on Sundays. Gholston does have a good push and he's no doubt fast for his size, but he doesn't have that lateral movement to be a dominant outside linebacker.

What Gholston can do is move fast off the edge…is that enough?

In camp, Gholston has looked very solid with his speed rush. A bit of a tweener in terms of size, he's still a bit under-sized to play defensive end. His frame can easily hold another 10-12 pounds of solid muscle, but the Jets might be concerned that if he adds the bulk he loses his speed then. He gets into the backfield very quickly once he gets by the tackle.

My concern is the Jets' 3-4 scheme and how this will impact the player.

In this set-up, the defensive ends tend to be a bit bigger – not space eater big but they need to plug holes to stop the other team's running game. Is Gholston big enough to do that every down? Last year, defensive end Shaun Ellis tipped the scale at 290 pounds and Mike Devito weighed in at around 300 pounds. Gholston is around 30 pounds lighter than both of those players, can he play the role of a defensive end in this defense? Is his speed enough or will he got pushed around like a rag-doll?

The answer might be that Gholston is only a passing down end, someone who can come in off the edge and apply pressure – and should the Jets ever offer a four-man front (DeVito has been seeing some reps at defensive tackle), Gholston might be a very compelling part of that alignment. Also, the Jets' scheme often puts two of the outside linebackers on the line of scrimmage, giving some hope that Gholston will be isolated and with one quick move, can be in the backfield fast.

All that leads up the question of how has Gholston looked so far? He's been good, dating back to OTA sessions when he had a nice interception on Mark Sanchez in passing drills. In camp, he's also done well, applying pressure and making some plays. He's quick off that edge, but that's already been said 15 times in this answer.

The verdict is still very much out on Gholston but my impression from training camp is that right now, he's a role player on this team. A first-round pick role player. An expensive first-round pick role player.

But, defensive end is the best place for him and I've never seen him look so comfortable on the field as he did last week on the line. If the Jets use him right, he might even break that elusive 20 tackle barrier in a season.

Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012

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