Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Demolition Man

For the Raiders to maximize their investment in 2 highy paid, man on man, press corners, we need another pass rushing DE.

Based on our current personnel, team needs, and the way the draft selections of Miami (#1), St. Louis (#2), and Atlanta (#3) are shaping up, our choice at #4 is quite obvious to me ...

Defensive End Vernon Gholston (Ohio State)

Everyone should be excited about having the best CB tandem in the NFL. I would feel much better about our new CB tandem making a significant impact if we had 2 of the better bookend DE pass rushers in Burgess & Gholston.

As it stands today, Burgess is our only legitimate pass rusher. Teams will naturally double team and chip block him. Add Gholston to the other side and watch the opponent's QB start heaving the ball up for grabs or violently being drilled to the turf.

This pick has all the ear markings of everything coming together to make it a "no brainer".

The Raiders depth chart at DE is bare thin.

Gholston should be available at #4 (or #6 with a draft day swap with the Jets).

Gholston is the type of athlete that Al covets... a super freak athlete who looks good coming off the bus. Incredibly athletic, strong, fast with tremendous potential. A good comparison would be Gholston and Merriman.

Here's the bio on Gholston:
Vernon Gholston is a remarkable talent, but he's only just begun realizing his vast potential.

He never picked up a football until his sophomore year in high school and had just one season of defensive experience as a linebacker before being converted to defensive end when he arrived at Ohio State.

Blessed with incredible speed (clocked at 4.56 in the 40-yard dash), long limbs and superb strength, Gholston is the prototype pass rusher that professional teams look for -- big, fast, strong and explosive. An avid performer in the weight room, he boasted the best bench press on the team at 455 pounds. He also put on an impressive performance for teammates, squatting 405 pounds 20 times.

How Gholston was lured into football will one day make a nice story, if he becomes the legendary pass rusher many personnel experts are predicting. Walking in the halls of Cass Technical High School, football coach Thomas Wilcher spotted the 14-year-old strapping youngster, who stood 6-3, 240 pounds at the time. He convinced the player to join the football team.

Gholston was too big to play in Detroit's Police Athletic League and the elementary public schools did not offer an organized football program. From the first time he ever stepped on the field, the coaching staff knew they had a natural talent.

As a sophomore at Cass Tech, Gholston was first tried at linebacker, but he was overwhelmed by the plays he needed to know to play that position. One of the offensive coaches "stole" the youngster away from the defensive squad and had him play offensive guard as a sophomore. His junior campaign was limited by ankle sprains, which forced him to stay on the offensive line and scrap plans to also play linebacker.

By his senior season, he had already earned All-State honors as an offensive lineman and gained experience playing linebacker for the first time in his career. In just one season on defense, he was regarded as one of the best linebackers in the Midwest region. He would go on to record 75 tackles with six sacks in his final season, as Rivals.com rated him the 11th-best defensive end prospect in the nation and the 12th-best overall prospect in the state of Michigan.
Gholston enrolled at Ohio State, becoming the only player from Michigan on the squad. He turned down scholarship offers from Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa to join the Buckeyes. The coaching staff immediately began giving him a crash course in playing the "Leo" position, which incorporates dropping into pass coverage and rushing the passer from either side of the field.

He mentored under Mike Kudla his first year with the team, appearing in six games as a true freshman in 2004, but did not record a tackle. In 2005, a broken hand suffered in the second game vs. Texas earned Gholston a medical hardship. He had one tackle in that game and spent the rest of the year on the sideline.

Gholston used that time wisely in the weight room, bulking up from 238 to 264 pounds, as he took over "Leo" duties in 2006. He garnered All-Big Ten Conference second-team honors, as he ranked fourth in the league with 15 stops for losses of 86 yards and was fifth in the Big Ten with 8.5 sacks. He added a quarterback pressure with two pass breakups and an interception. He also finished sixth on the squad with 49 tackles (21 solo).

In 2007, Gholston earned All-American recognition and was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation's top defensive end. He posted 37 tackles (25 solo) and was a terror in the backfield, ranking eighth in the nation with 15.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and second nationally with 14 sacks. He also scooped up a fumble and returned it for a 25-yard touchdown.

In 34 games at Ohio State, Gholston started 25 times. He registered 87 tackles (47 solo) with 22.5 sacks for minus-184 yards and 30.5 stops for losses of 199 yards. He had two pass deflections and an eight-yard interception return, as he also recovered a fumble that he returned 25 yards for a touchdown.

Here's Vernon Gholston's scouting report via NFL Draft Countdown:

Calico Jack's Checklist on Vernon Gholston:
(1) Size: (check) > 6'3, 266 chiseled lbs.
(2) Speed: (check) > 4.58 40 time
(3) Strength: (check) > 37 reps of 225 lbs (best result of entire combine)
(4) Explosion: (check) > 42" vertical jump & 10' 5" broad jump
(5) Production: (check) > 14 sacks in 13 games in 2007 including a sack vs. Jake Long
(6) Combine: (check) > complete confirmation of physical talents (see results below)
(7) Pro Day: (check) > same as above
(8) Need: (check) > The Raiders biggest need position is DE; Raiders had only 27 sacks last year
(9) BPA: (check) > if selecting at #4, one of 2 top BPA on the board. If a trade is completed with the Jets; selecting at #6, definitely BPA
(10) Impact Position: (check) > A speedy pass rushing DE is a high impact position
(11) Value Pick: (check) > NFL teams place a high premium on acquiring a pass rushing DE.
(12) Additional Value: (check) > The acquisition of Vernon Gholston enhances the value of the Raiders cornerback tandem who play man to man coverage.

2008 Combine Results:
DL Top five 40-yard dash times (seconds)
1. Marcus Howard, Georgia -- 4.48
2. Quentin Groves, Auburn -- 4.50
3. Cliff Avril, Purdue -- 4.57
4. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State -- 4.61 (* ran 4.58 at pro day)
5. Shawn Crable, Michigan -- 4.64

DL Top five 10-yard splits (seconds)
1. Marcus Howard, Georgia -- 1.53
2. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State -- 1.56
3. Quentin Groves, Auburn -- 1.60
4. Cliff Avril, Purdue -- 1.61
T5. Shawn Crable, Michigan -- 1.64
T5. Jeremy Thompson, Wake Forest -- 1.64

DL Top five bench press results (reps)
1. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State -- 37
T2. Trevor Laws, Notre Dame -- 35
T2. Ahtyba Rubin, Iowa State -- 35
T4. Sedrick Ellis, Southern California -- 34
T4. Nick Hayden, Wisconsin -- 34

DL Top five vertical jump results (inches)
1. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State -- 35.5 (jumped 42” at pro day)
2. Marcus Howard, Georgia -- 34.5
3. Chris Long, Virginia -- 34
T4. Cliff Avril, Purdue -- 32.5
T4. Louis Holmes, Arizona -- 32.5

DL Top five broad jump results (feet)
1. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State -- 10.5
2. Chris Long, Virginia -- 10.4
3. Jason Jones, Eastern Michigan -- 10.3
4. Louis Holmes, Arizona -- 10.1
5. Quentin Groves, Auburn -- 10.0

The ideal situation for a high 1st round pick is for the player that we take is both a vital need AND the BPA. Further, it is ideal if the player taken plays a high impact position such as QB, LT, and DE. Drafting at #4, Vernon Gholston would fill the most vital need AND be arguably 1 of the 2 BPA AND plays a high impact position. If we had let Rhodes go ... or if we didn't resign Fargas ... or if Bush wasn't 100% ready for takeoff, I could see more merit in taking Darren McFadden. As it stands now, Gholston makes the most sense to me.


Anonymous memdf said...

Hard to pass up and certainly fills a need even though AD picks to fill his own needs...
I like the break down on where Gholston ranked among the other available D lineman. Very impressive numbers.

One of my problems is why start from scratch at this position by letting Clemons go?

5:43 AM  
Blogger Jerious Norwood said...

I couldn't agree with you more. To paraphrase a wise man: 'The quarterback more go down... he must go down hard.

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hope you are having a good offseason. I love the pick up of Hall. Say what you want about Al and I love him he sure as hell tries to make the team better.

I agree with you on DE being the our biggest need and it would complete what looks like a fantastic defense. However, I worry that if McFadden is as good as Peterson or gasp the next Marcus Allen we should not pass. Rhodes, Bush and Fargas does not give me the warm and fuzzys


Florida Raider

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey CB/CJ,

Great breakdown on Gholston, he is impressive and would be nice to have around, but i think we have greater needs for a monster DT, much greater; if we cant stop the run again, we're ruined. After that, I would go for a monster OLman.

Totally agree that we should not go after McF - we got the guns in Bush, Fargas and Rhodes.

What gives on the 2 new qb additions, I havent read squat online about them. Does that mean that Walters is finally gone?

12:05 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Mike: I guess I can pencil you in for the Patsie game this season, huh? 1st brew on me.

We got plenty of "beef" for our interior DL ... the question is whether or not it is top choice rib eye or some low grade flank steak.

Our 5 DTs under contract:

#93 Tommy Kelly; 6'6", 300 lbs
#61 Gerrard Warren; 6'4", 330 lbs

#90 Terdell Sands; 6'7", 335 lbs
#96 William Joseph; 6'5", 310 lbs
#95 Josh Shaw; 6'3", 305 lbs

CJ :}

1:11 PM  
Anonymous The Raider said...

Walter will be our back up and I'm happy with that.
He is a tall, smart deep passer that was brought into a situation were even Farve would suck.

Florida kid,
Don't even think of comparing McFadden to Marcus Allen. Yes McFadden is a great college player, but those long legs are a huge target for tackling. He is not a Peterson, he is not the best player in Arkansas Running history and he didn't run the 40 at his pro day (that speaks volumes). Just wait until we go back to Miami and kick the Phin's ass again. You'll feel warm and fuzzy soon enough.

Well done. Obviously Long or Gholston would fit the bill. Either man can be an instant starter.
There is no doubt in my mind that one of those talents will be drafted 4th. If for some weird reason they are both gone due to swaping spots in round one...Who is the next big End out there?
As of late, OL Jake Long "might" slide out of the first 3 or 6 spots. His raw power is there, but there s countless footage of him getting burned by speedy Ends and LBs on the outside. That does not mean he isn't able to adjust. He could be a great Tackle on either side.

With the way things are moving (fast and furious),
I'm wasting my time talking about Jake. It's just hard to not think about him, when LT has always been an issue. There will be a lot of UFA DLs ready to sign with the team next year, yet like I said, it is all about "now."

Anything can happen in round one.
29 days to go!

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the Raiders need three rush DE's. If one goes down with two on board, you have the same problem. But another of those is wishful thinking. It is a no-brainer; the defensive tackles are there, if they can wake up from their naps. I have no idea why Clemons was let go. That was not a good decision.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Darrel said...

Great case CJ for Gholston. I believe given the right talent
'Caveman' will put a 'D' on the field to rock the NFL.

6:40 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...


You are such a "Pimp" Bro....Good Job...

You know where I stand so no point "Punking" your site with my "Pimping" "McFab"....

Just a question....

Do you really see 2 "DE"s going in the 1st 4 picks....When has that ever happened....I will have to look...

I honestly don't see 2 "DE"s-"DT"s-"OT"s going in the 1st 4 picks when "AD" has the 4th pick....When has he ever settled for 2nd best when he had a choice an a chance to get the best player at a position on the board....I don't remember that ever happening....I will have to look....

You are right....It's logical....BUT....

PantyRaider....da Pimp!!!!

8:04 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

"06"....@ #7 Al takes 1st "S"....Passed on the "QB" that would have been the 2nd taken when we needed the "QB"...

"05"...@ #23 drafted "CB" for NEED....4th taken...

"04"..@ #2 1st "OT"...Again passed on the 2nd "QB" Rivers....

"03"...@ #31-n-#32 Drafted for NEED..."CB"-n-"DT"...2 "WR"s taken at 2-n-3...

"02"..@ #23 drafted 1st "LB"...2 "QB"s taken 1-3...

"01"..@ #28 drafted "DB" for NEED...

"00"..@ #17 drafted 1st "K"....

"99"..@ #18 drafted 2nd "OT"...."QB"s 1-2-3..."RB"s 4-5...

"98" @ #4-n-#23 1st "CB"...."OT"...

"97" @ #2 1st "DT"....

"96" @ #9 1st "TE"...

"95" @ #18 3rd "RB"...NEED...

"94" @ #22 4th "LB"...NEED...

"93" @ #12 1st "DB"....

"92" @ #16 2nd "DE"...NEED...

"91" @ #24 2nd "QB"...Family

"90" @ #11 2nd "DE"....NEED...

Do you see a pattern here....We questioned some of these picks at the time but they were the 1st players at their positions drafted....

8:37 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

“Ego….Me First….Being #1 at all cost”

That’s Raider history….That’s Al’s personality….He never likes to be second in anything…The team history is all about what the Raider did 1st before anyone else….How we have set the trends that all others must follow….

1st to have a black “QB“…Black coach….Hispanic coach….Woman Chief executive….X-Player as head of the NFLPA…Coach to become owner….Youngest coach ever and hire the youngest coaches ever….Sell stadium name rights to corporate America….Promote Booster Clubs….Involve the fans in team events….X-Players and Coaches become GM’s elsewhere….Promote “Sky-Boxes”….PSL’s….Hollywood Connection…Secrete Practices Un-viewable to the “Mediot”s….

1st to convert players from “HB” to “TE”….”QB” to “WR”….”LB to “RB”….

1st to develop team speed….Develop the vertical game….The dominate pass rush saying The “QB” must go down and he must go down hard…Man coverage scheme while violently chucking the “WR“ to disrupt his rout and timing and using “Stick’em“ as a weapon….Student body left….Approach the game the same as you would approach a battle in war….

1st to promote the team colors as connected to it’s identity….”S&B”….Promote slogans….Commitment to Excellence….Pride and Poise….Just Win Baby….Raider nation….We take what we want…We will strike from anywhere at any time on the field…Nasty Streak….Raider Football as separate from the football other teams play….Us against the world….The Greatness of the Raiders….Speed Kills….We will pummel you into submission…

A team in the image of it’s owner who is too damn proud to settle for second in anything if he has a choice….And too damn proud to draft the 2nd best player at any position behind a competitor if he has access to the best at a position that helps his team win….There will NOT be 2 “DE”s taken within the first 4 picks of the “2008” NFL Draft as long as Al Davis owns that pick….


11:24 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Great comments PR. I know you are firmly in the "McFabulous" camp. He is truly a remarkable prospect. If we end up with Run DMc there is no question that he would add excitement with his home run threat capabilities.

My preference however is to shore up our DL if and only if we don't trade down. My order of preference would be as follows:

(1) Son of Howie although the odds are long, no pun intended, that he will be available

(2) Demolition Man Gholston

(3) Glenn Dorsey (with Kelly moving to DE)

(4) Sedrick Ellis (with Kelly moving to DE)

Our #1 need position is DE. Our biggest weakness is the D's ability to stop the run and sack the QB.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, with Edwards FA singing, does that mean Al indeed has his sights on McFadden? I hope not, I think we have greater needs than RB (I think Bush is the real deal, and we know Fargas has what it takes, spelled by Rhodes).
HOw do you read it? Would love some Monster OLmen....

8:42 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

With the signing of Kalimba Edwards, logic would dictate that the Raiders do the following;

>>> Trade down to #6 with the Jets
>>> Use the #6 pick to take a LT perfect for the ZBS, Ryan Clady.

Ryan Clady: OT, Boise St. Height: 6-61/8 | Weight: 309 | 40-Time: 5.18
Has excellent size and a big frame with long arms...A fantastic athlete...Very light on his feet...An outstanding pass blocker...Real quick and agile..Great mobility and range...Excellent balance...Is a natural knee bender...A hard worker with a terrific motor...Plays with a nasty demeanor...Adequate strength...Adjusts well and never seems to panic....Can fit in a zone or man blocking scheme...Still has some upside.

Plays too high at times and need to use better leverage...Gets the job done as a run blocker but is not necessarily dominant...Has to refine his technique and work on mastering the nuances of the position...He isn't overly powerful at the point of attack and can get pushed back...He must continue strengthening his lower body.

Redshirted in '04 and then started the next three seasons...Played right tackle as a redshirt frosh and then made a seamless transition to the left side when Daryn Colledge moved on to the pros...Has a rare blend of size and athleticism and was born to protect the quarterbacks blind side...Has all the physical tools you look for and he's the best pure left tackle prospect in this draft...A sure-fire Top 10-15 pick.

>>> With the additional pick garnered from the Jets trade (2nd or 3rd round), take the best available SLB or WR.

Makes too much sense though. When you factored in our final decision maker (Al), it is looking like Run DMc will be the selection.

7:50 PM  

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