William Gholston   DE   Michigan St

TALENT BOARD ROUND  1

 

STRENGTHS

William is one of the most athletically gifted human beings that I have seen on a football field at his size.  He has the agility of Dwight Freeney, speed close to that of Brian Urlacher and the size and strength of Mario Williams.  He has good balance and the change of direction skills (in spite of his 6'7" height) that allow him to turn the corner on line stunts and blitzes as well as when he rushes the quarterback.  You can't cut block this kid because he will just leap over it and get into the backfield even quicker.  He has to be accounted for on every pass play.  In most cases in college, he was even double-teamed, but was still able to get pressure on the quarterback as well as sacks.  I have seen him pressure the quarterback and then turn and tackle a receiver 10 yards down the field after the catch, stopping that receiver from gaining fewer than two more yards.  He has the length that teams love to see in a natural pass rusher and those long strides that make him almost impossible to block on passing downs.  He is the closet pure pass rusher that I have seen at that size since former Buffalo Bill and Hall of Fame defensive end, Bruce Smith.  William has that type of potential, which is why I call him William (The Impossible) Gholston.  He is impossible to block all game long; teams just can't prevent him from making an impact play in every game.    

 

CONCERNS

William has so much athletic talent that it has allowed him to acquire some bad habits and lack of technique that he will have to correct or he runs the risk of just becoming a good pass rusher instead of the great pass rusher his talents suggest he should become.  He has to improve his hand techniques to free himself even more quickly from his opponent on running plays or when rushing the passer.  Just using athletic talent alone will not cut it at the next level.  He has to learn to get his hands up and use his height along with his arm length to knock down balls in the passing lanes when facing a double-team.  In college, he could still beat double teams pretty handily, but in the NFL, the double teams will be harder to beat and getting his hands up faster will become another way for William to impact, along with the sacks and pressures. William has to start reading the offensive linemen and strategizing to set them up for 4th quarter sacks. In the games before now, he just lines up and goes, and is just better athletically than most players he goes up against.  When William anticipates a run and uses the correct techniques, he does an excellent job shedding and making tackles at the line of scrimmage.  However, in general, because of his size, he plays too high and can by handled when opponents are run blocking.  His height is the reason William will not be as impactful in a 3-4 defense as he will be as a DE in a 4-3 defense.  He can hold the point of attack on the outside and does it well, but in the middle, that's a different story.  I suggest you draft him and COACH BETTER because thinking he is going to be an excellent run stuffing defensive lineman on the inside of a defensive line is asking too much of him.  Keep him on the outside in a 4-3 defense and he will do just fine against the run.

 

BOTTOM LINE

The sins of the cousin should not be laid on this kid's shoulders.  I have a draft philosophy that I try to stick pretty close to:  I don't profile bloodlines, history, reputation or names -- I profile players.  I can't see blood gushing out any orifice of a player as they run down the field to identify that player as the relative of a former NFL player.  I don't see the history of a family name in the way a player tackles. I see a number on a jersey and, most of the time, because I'm dyslexic, I don't understand the spelling of someone's name on the back of a jersey. That is until I have to write a profile and get the spelling of that player's name correct and then I might recognize the name and do a search just to see the relationship but believe, by then I have already formulated the profile in my mind.  This allows me to study film with no preconceived agenda.  I go to the film to watch #2 in the green jersey and the truth is, I'm not sure who the kid is.  If someone else has #2 on that day, I'm screwed.  That being said, when I watched the film of William, I saw an athletic kid on the field that no one could handle one-on-one except for the LT from Central Michigan, and even he needed some help.  Still, William made impact plays in that game all day long.  He plays on both sides of the line so figuring what side is the best is not necessary.  You can move him from side to side as needed in a game plan.  He changes the line of scrimmage on almost every play unless he is played inside.  He struggles inside because of his height and smaller, more powerful guards can get leverage on him and keep him at the line.  But, at his height, if he learns to get his hands up, he will affect plays regardless.  He has the foot quickness and agility to get around the corner as a DE in a 4-3, but his greatest strength is his long, strong stride that gets most tackles off balance making it easy for William to make a "leverage counter move" and, on his second stride, be in the quarterback's face.  Add one more stride and you have a sack.  He is an excellent tackler in space because of his change of direction skills.  Don't bother to run a screen to his side because if he doesn't knock the pass down, he turns, explodes and tackles whoever caught that pass at the line of scrimmage.  William must be accounted for on every pass play in an opponent's game plan or that team will lose the game.  It's really just that simple.  That's why I call him William (The Impossible) Gholston -- he is impossible to ignore in a gameplan as he will make an impact play if he is not accounted for on every pass play. 

 

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Feb/2013