Hempstead, N.Y., is quickly becoming the east campus of the Ohio State.
For the third time in four years, the New York Jets have selected a Buckeye fan favorite early in the National Football League draft. The Jets took OSU defensive end/linebacker Vernon Gholston with the sixth pick in this year’s selection process.
Gholston’s early selection, while not a favorite of some draft scouts, pleased the often fuming Jets fans that traditionally fill New York’s Radio City Music Hall to see their favorite team make their choices.
The Detroit native set the Ohio State record with 14 sacks during his junior season of 2007 at Ohio State before choosing to go pro, the only Buckeye to leave early for the NFL. Gholston finished ’07 with 37 tackles and a fumble return for a touchdown after having 49 stops, 8.5 sacks and an interception during his breakout year of 2006.
The sculpted Gholston shot up draft boards during the workout season, taking fourth in the 40 for defensive linemen at the NFL combine with a time of 4.67 seconds, tying for the top mark at the event overall with 37 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press and posting the highest vertical jump for a defensive lineman at 35.5 feet.
At Ohio State’s Pro Day March 7, he one-upped himself, breaking the 4.6-second mark in the 40-yard dash while posting a vertical leap of 42 inches.
However, some analysts questioned his motor before the draft. None of that will matter, though, as he already has pleased the notorious Jets fans who are among the toughest to please in the NFL.
Adam Caplan at the Scout Pro Football Experts site had this to say about the pick of Gholston: “There's a saying in the NFL which is you can't ever have enough quality pass rushers. The Jet pass rush will be strengthened in a big way with the additions of Calvin Pace and Gholston to go along with Bryan Thomas. The trio of outside pass rushers could post 30-35 sacks as a group in 2008.”
Gholston was the second defensive end to go after Chris Long, a Virginia product who was selected by St. Louis with the No. 2 pick.
Ohio State kicker Mike Nugent was selected by the Jets in the second round of the 2005 draft, while the Jets took center Nick Mangold in the first round (No. 29 overall).
Coming into the draft, Ohio State was tied with USC for the most ever first-round picks with 65 and had the most overall choices over the past five seasons with 39.
Offensive tackle Kirk Barton and linebacker Larry Grant are expected to be chosen later in the draft.