The Bears on Friday signed defensive end Vernon Gholston to a one-year contract. Gholston, drafted sixth overall in the 2008 NFL draft, has been called by some one of the biggest draft busts in league history after failing to record a single sack in his three years in the league and starting just five games.
It may be a curious move to some, but the Bears feel Gholston still has a lot of potential.
“I had a chance to watch him a lot in the offseason and study him, and I just go back to him coming out of Ohio State as a tremendous athlete with speed,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said.
Gholston was considered a freak of nature coming out of college and he had remarkable measurables in pre-draft workouts. The speed that Marinelli was referring to helped Gholston register a 4.56 40-yard dash. Gholston also possesses great strength and put up 225 pounds 37 times at the combine.
Those numbers don’t always translate to production on the field and Gholston had a rough transition from a defensive end to a 3-4 linebacker with the New York Jets.
The Bears are hoping Marinelli’s track record as a defensive line coach will help Gholston revive his career as an end.
“I just want to get his hand back on the ground and start doing one or two things with him to really see the explosion and speed,” Marinelli said.
Bears fans should treat this as a luxury signing. Gholston may not pan out, but the Bears aren’t investing that much in him. If he has any sort of revival, though, he’ll provide great depth to the pass rush.
Says Marinelli: “You take a swing at a guy like that. In our system, it’s about fundamentals and techniques over and over. It will be a nice fit for him.”