Expectations were through the roof for Vernon Gholston when the Jets made him the sixth overall pick in 2008, but two seasons into his career, Gholston is still looking for his first sack as a pro. Many have attached the "bust" label to him, and there are doubts about whether he will ever develop into a capable edge rusher.
His teammate and fellow outside 'backer Calvin Pace recently explained what he's seeing from Gholston, in an exclusive interview with PFW.
"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.' "
Pace, who had a career-high eight sacks this season in just 12 games, said he can relate to some of the struggles Gholston is going through, having experienced a difficult transition to the pros, as well. Pace, who was selected 18th overall by the Cardinals in '03, had just one sack in three of his first four seasons in the league.
"I don't think there's such a thing as a bust," Pace told PFW. "When I was the 18th pick out of Wake Forest, people laughed that the Cardinals were drafting me. I remember Denny Green saying that was the worst they could've done. He happened to end up being my coach (in 2004)."
Gholston, who started three games earlier this season while Pace was serving a suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, will have a difficult time carving out playing time unless he shows dramatic improvement heading into his third year.
"When I was out, I think he played well," Pace said. "Did he put the numbers up that people wanted to see? Probably not, but he went in there and he wasn't hesitant. ... I just think when he gets his opportunity, he just needs to shine and play 100 miles per hour and just not be afraid to mess up."
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