In Defense of Gholston's Raider Career

Ryan SCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2008

The Raiders, I mean Al Davis, love combine freaks. While some other writers and fans jump on Darren McFadden for the Raiders pick, excuse me while I throw out the punch that some of you are passing along.

There's no sugar coating it. Vernon Gholston is exactly what we need. This man, or beast, will vault the Raiders' defense to that level that we havent seen in over 25 years, punishing whoever holds the ball.

Not since the mid-'80s have we completely devasated ball carriers on every play. Yes, we had some success in 2002, but we all remember Alstott and Pittman were not scared to run the ball against us.

The way the defense is lined up now, if either Derrick Burgess or Jay Richardson get hurt, we have no true defensive ends to fill in. Richardson isn't proven at all and because of Kevin Carter returning to Tampa, we are in dire need of a dominant defensive end.

We all know Burgess isn't the best against the run, but possibly that may be because he's always double teamed now. His last year in Philadelphia and his first year in Oakland, he was a force in the backfield.

Some of you love McFadden's measureables, especially his 4.33 forty time. Well here's something to think about:

*6-4, 262 lbs

*4.56 forty yard dash

*455 lb bench press and also squatting 405 lbs...20times!

*37 reps at 225 lbs

*42 in. vertical jump

At his height and weight, those numbers are staggering. All of those are better than Chris Long's numbers.

Remember now, Burgess always lines up against the opposing teams right tackle, which means he isn't coming from the quarterbacks blind spot, he's coming head on. With Gholston coming off of the opposite edge, it creates a death-trap bookend. Especially with the corners locked on so the line can force numerous "coverage sacks".

For those of you with concern to the run defense, I've already got this covered (pun intended). Nnamdi Asomugha and DeAngelo Hall can cover wide-outs securely. Anyone who has questions about Hall's ability or coverage wasn't thinking about 2008. In 2008, Asomugha will cover the opposing teams "number one" receiver. Which in some cases, was what Hall had problems with. Now Hall only has to cover the "number two" receiver. I know he can do that. What does this have to do with the run defense might you ask?

With the corners locked down and Huff returning to his true position, this gives the Raiders the ability to put eight men in the box. Gibril Wilson will be that enforcer we were lacking. With Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard stepping up their game each year, eight men in the box should keep runners under 100 yards each game.

It's all about gap control. Vernon Gholston is a very good run stuffing defensive end. With his athleticism, it will be hard for opposing teams to double team anyone on our line. With a front four consisting of Burgess, Sands, Kelly, and Gholston, it will be tough for anyone to pinpoint a weak spot to double team, keep in mind that having to double team anyone on the front four lets our linebackers have "free range" to roam the field, especially the backfield. Those eight men in the box will get the job done.

Vernon Gholston posseses the speed and power to go against the games best offensive lineman: left tackles. No one else in the draft has that ability to dominate from that position like he does, and that just might be the missing piece to propel our defense back to the days where people will not want to have the football in their hands on offense.

We need this warrior.