22. Biggest NFL Draft busts of all-time – New York Jets DE Vernon Gholston
One of the biggest fears when it comes to drafting players is the workout warrior. This player doesn’t produce a ton in college but dominates the so-called “underwear Olympics” that is the NFL combine, leading some team to fall in love with his potential and overdraft said player.
That happened to the Jets in 2008 with Vernon Gholston, who had put up only one good season at Ohio State but put up tremendous athletic numbers at the combine. The Jets were desperate to find an edge rusher to replace John Abraham, who they traded to Atlanta after the 2005 season, and selected Gholston with the sixth overall pick.
Gholston never was able to earn significant reps on the Jets’ defense, racking up just 42 tackles and zero sacks over three seasons in Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan’s defenses. The Jets moved on from Gholston after just three seasons and he never cracked an NFL roster again.
The fact that such a dominant edge rushing prospect never recorded a sack in the NFL is absolutely astounding. ESPN noted at the time of Gholston’s release that 617 different players, including 117 who went undrafted, had recorded a sack in the three years he had played, a sign of how colossal a failure Gholston was in the NFL.