The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued to address their defensive line in the fourth round, selecting Michigan State DE William Gholston. The 6-foot-6, 281-pound Gholston had 30 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his Spartans career.
Tampa Bay continued to address the defensive line on the third day of the draft, using the team’s second fourth-round pick on Michigan State’s athletic defensive end, William Gholston with the 126th overall pick. The Bucs used the 100th overall pick earlier in the fourth round to select Illinois defensive tackle Akeem Spence.
Gholston, who is the cousin of former Jets first-round pick and draft bust Vernon Gholston, has great athleticism and size at 6-foot-6, 281 pounds. Gholston has 34-inch arms and nearly 10.5-inch hands.
Gholston represents a good value pick in the fourth round for Tampa Bay. As NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock noted, Gholston has first-round ability, but was not a consistent producer.
“Now that I am in the NFL that criticism was just,” Gholston said. “But I’ve been making up for it by working out and the next stage of my life right now is to come in and contribute.
“I also played within my scheme on the defense. We finished with the top defense the last three years in the Big Ten and top five for the last two years in the nation. I feel like my numbers may or may not been that high, but as a unit we worked efficiently and everything that I did helped out my team. I played both end positions at Michigan State, so I feel like I’ll be good on either side.”
In 2012, Gholston was a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the media, but just honorable mention by the coaches. He played in 36 games and notched just 30 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
In 2010 as a true freshman, Gholston notched 13 tackles and half a sack before tearing his left labrum against Minnesota. As a sophomore, Gholston started 12 games and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors with 70 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and five sacks.
Gholston had a tremendous game at Raymond James Stadium in Michigan State’s 33-30 overtime win over Georgia in the Outback Bowl with five tackles for loss and two sacks. However, Gholston’s 2011 was overshadowed by a one-game suspension for punching Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan
and twisting the helmet of Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson.
The Detroit native notched 59 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and 10 pass breakups in his junior season, which was his final year at Michigan State, thanks to his huge frame and wingspan.
“Some of the technique that we were taught in practice was to put up the same hand that the quarterback used to release the ball,” Gholston said. “We did it every day and with so much repetition that it became a habit, and we were just able to swat down the ball.”
Gholston needs to use his hands better to disengage from blockers and work on his balance. He’s very agile for his size and plays with good leverage, but needs to play with a wider base when rushing the passer and anchoring against the run.
With the loss of Michael Bennett, the Bucs’ leading sacker last year with nine, the team needed to add another defensive end to the roster. Gholston’s addition now gives the Bucs eight defensive ends, including starters Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Aaron Morgan, Markus White Ernst Owusu and George Selvie.– Victoria Horchak contributed to this report
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