The Rising Stock Of Will Gholston

February 17th, 2014
will gholston 1208

Could Will Gholston be a starting DE for the Bucs?

Last year when (now former) Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik drafted defensive lineman Will Gholston on the third day of the draft, Joe thought the Bucs may have got a bargain. The guy had the physical tools. The issue was, could he be coached up?

He was.

Gholston told Joe he learned plenty from former front-7 coach Bryan Cox. Initially, it seemed Gholston may have been a September casualty of the final cuts.

He survived but started on the inactive list. Gradually, he improved and not just earned a spot on the active gameday roster, but started seeing playing time. By the time the season ended, Gholston was a starter and was making more plays on the defensive line than anyone not named “Gerald McCoy.”

Gholston has even impressed the spreadsheeters over at Pro Football Focus. They believe Gholston should be starting in 2014 over Da’Quan Bowers, believes Khaled Elsayed.

We’re going with William Gholston over Da’Quan Bowers at defensive end, well aware that could change. Unfortunately, Bowers hasn’t lived up to the hype and while the team wanted him to replace Michael Bennett, he failed to lock down a starting job and contributed just 212 snaps and 17 quarterback disruptions as a situational player.

While Gholston earned and deserves to compete for a starting job, Joe isn’t quite yet prepared to shovel dirt on Bowers’ days with the Bucs.

Joe has faith that new Bucs coach Lovie Smith can resurrect the Bucs defense; that he can find ways to allow defensive linemen to breathe on the quarterback. Thus, Joe thinks the best thing that has happened to Bowers in years is Lovie being hired.

Still, Bowers has scant time to turn things around. He’s now under his third head coach and defensive coordinator, and neither the new coach nor the general manager has any professional or emotional ties to him. Rarely do under-performing players see a fourth coaching staff (in a perfect NFL world, no player would see a fourth coaching staff on the same team).

If Lovie cannot right Bowers, Joe suspects no one will.

37 Responses to “The Rising Stock Of Will Gholston”

  1. Harry Says:

    First he has to come to camp in shape; there was NO excuse for that. If he does, it is a no brainer. Bowers, still under his rookie deal, is dirt cheap for one more year.

  2. Captain Stagger Says:

    Coaching and scheme will wash allot if stink off the DE’s….and the QB for that matter….

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Gholston & Bowere provide some inexpensive depth at the very least and with Gholston, I think there is a huge upside.
    We need 1 very good DE to put into the mix along with a LB & CB and our defense will be complete.

  4. bucs4lyfe Says:

    whether you like bowers or not, whether we think Gholston is a starting caliber d end, you still have to admit that if this new coaching thinks they can coach them up or that one is a starter caliber it means you get a veteran free agent like peppers or jared allen, maybe both and let them alternate sit behind these guy until they can beat them out…..gotta admit that gives us more flexibility in the draft not having to be desperate for pash rushers, were about to see very soon what this staff thinks of their players which will also tell us just us just how horrible a coach schiano is and his staff if anyone of these guys we labeled bust like bowers comes out and for some reason hits his stride lol i dont think he will but i hope for everyone to hit another level under lovie smith

  5. SAMCRO Says:

    Bowers, Gholston, and Means are not good enough. Their team finished last out of all the teams in the history of the NFL. Their play did not make fellow players play rise to the top. They did not single handedly win any games on their own. They are great backups and that’s it. OH wait!, were not talking about the QB. My bad, sorry.

  6. Mike10 Says:

    I’m not ready to write off the Bucs’ potential-heavy DE either. A lot lies in what Lovie is able to bring with coaching. However, after last year, a lot lies in what Bowers does on his own before training camp begins. He can’t expect to get into gear once the season begins. Hopefully McCoy can mentor him a bit; I think he realizes more than anyone how to reach one’s potential after flirting with the ‘B-word’.

    We all know additional pressure must come from the DE position. And if we bring someone in as a FA, their contract committment will most likely push either Bowers or Claiborne to the bench (most likely Claiborne from the right side). And if it’s a draft pick, they most likely won’t be an NFL-ready product.
    Does it have to be a move for Clowney (and I disagree w Big Dog in that we don’t have the ammunition to move up)? What do you think we should do?

  7. NewTampaChris Says:

    So typical. You get a few flashes from a guy at the end of a crappy season and his legend grows during the off-season. We’re so desperate to fill slots that we forget the total body of work. (Also see: Glennon, Mike)

  8. teacherman Says:

    Add Julius Pepper and Jared Allen on 3 years deals each.

    Then draft Anthony Barr.


    The deepest line in the NFL.

  9. Mumbles Says:

    Don’t forget Mike LB! Frazier said critical piece.

  10. NY Buc Says:

    Schiano (and Dom) drafted Gholston and had him playing well, so I’m not sure how if the guy plays even better in year two how that is an indication of anything other than he is improving on his rookie season (as he should). I personally don’t believe last season was a good representation of a lot of the players on the roster nor should it be held against Schiano as much as it was. The guy went 7-9 in his first season, Lovie went 5-11 in his, so sometimes coaches (even the good ones) need to improve on the job even without the aberration of injuries, MRSA, media witch hunts, and a former franchise QB with a spiteful agent the Bucs had last year.

  11. ROBERT6 Says:

    I actually agree with sapp on this one. if they would just turn these guys lose we could see what they have.

    how is someone supposed to get to the QB quick when he has to stunt around another team mate. rather if they just go straight on with a decent slip, swim or turn move etc, they have cut 1/2 the time in getting to the QB.

    on a side note, unless you guys want another 3 articles on joes man crush you better get posting on here. if these things get no clicks I can see why he talks manziel…

  12. Owlykat Says:

    I am all for us giving Jared Allen a one year contract so that we can get a good pass rush with the front four right from the first game, but I believe with the great Coaching we have now they will get Gholston schooled on the new scheme and refine his moves and he will be our top DE end for many years to come. I think Lovie can take Bowers under his wing and get his attitude up to speed and excited and he will be able to spell both starters. We don’t need to go after Clowney of any other DE. We need a new MLB, move Foster to SLB to compete with Means and Watson. Pick up a Veteran CB who is a great tackler, and our Defense is set for years to come!

  13. BirdDoggers Says:

    DEs go through a learning curve. If the latter part of last season was an indication, Gholston should continue to improve and at the very least be a good rotational player. He might just be starter material. However, I don’t suspect Lovie will let it all ride with Gholston as the starter, much like Schiano and Dominik did with Bowers. I’m sure Lovie wants a proven pass rusher. It’s the only way his defense works.

  14. Rob Says:

    I know it’s the offseason, but Joe seems to be running out of headlines?

  15. Kevin Says:

    These new coaches will get more out of the same players all the way around. We are gonna be a tough team for years now.

  16. bucs4lyfe Says:


    I hope your not one of those guys with the excuses talking about how the offense playcalling sucked and the coaching excuses and the injured players and so on. this guy improved over time and got better not worse, you havent seen enough of of gholston or means to debate what their gonna be like we do glennon….michael bennett is 27 years old and we are talking about him like he’s the next simeon rice that we let go but the guy has yet to have a 10 sack season and hasnt had more than a 4 sack season until his last year in tampa so 27 years old and finally had two seasons of great play and wants to get paid like a probowler but after playing under a garbage coach running a college scheme in the nfl your saying these guys are done…..

    who knows but i would say if they play like garbage under a coach like lovie smith THEN it would be safe to say their not good enough

  17. anotherbucsfan Says:

    Robert is right we need to right more on these articles if we dont want to see the picture of manziel again.

    any news what is schiano doing this year?

  18. UnderDog Lefty Says:

    My fingers are crossed that Lovie still sees in Bowers the same qualities that once made him potentially the first pick of the draft before he got injured. IF so AND Lovie thinks he can bring the best out in him, along with the continued development of Gholston, then there’s no reason to put any dollars in to FA DE. That would free up more dollars to chase WR, TE and OL upgrades as well as add some depth at DB positions. Throw in one bargain-priced FA veteran QB and a top-5 type college QB through the draft to compete with Glennon (Garoppolo or McCarron) and the Bucs could very well be pushing for a playoff spot in the ’14 season.

  19. UnderDog Lefty Says:

    @ Harry
    You’re right on, Bowers absolutely must come to camp in shape. He’s got to know with Lovie and the new regime of coaches that he’s been given a 2nd chance to show why he was once considered the best DE in college and prove he can be the same in the NFL. Is there a team out there that would give him a 3rd chance if he doesn’t cut it in Tampa? I’m sure there is, but by then he will just be another Albert Haynesworth who was just all about the money.

  20. Destinjohnny Says:

    Every d lineman on the team needs to have a starters mindset. The sign to look for is in the preseason when the 2nd team dominates then we are back.

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    All Buc fans should at least hope that our younger/cheaper players develop into producers. We can’t just go out and acquire FAs and draft picks and become contenders in a year or two
    I am really rooting for Glennon, Gholston, Bowers, Spence, Means, Wright, Melvin, Gorrer, Leonard, Tandy, Shepard, Page and even Michael Smith to improve.
    If most of them do well enough to stick with the new coaches we will have something special going forward.
    I think we already have good young players in Banks, James & Rainey

  22. Sammy Watkins Mob Says:

    This guy is going to be a difference maker, just watch

  23. Dougy balls Says:

    Love the idea of Sammy Watkins

  24. Sammy Watkins Mob Says:

    Dougy balls: Watkins would instantly make the bucs offense very difficult to defend, teams would have to decide if they want to shut down Jackson or Watkins, can’t shut down both. Just hope he’s there at #7

  25. Dougy balls Says:

    Agree Gives teddford the speed for his spread plus kick return Looks dynamic for nfl. Younger Percy Harvin IMO

  26. Andrew 1 Says:

    yep, Im on board with getting Watkins too. I mean we could probably wait till the second round and still get a very good WR, but screw it if we want a WR then lets go and get the best one. Hopefully he will still be there when we pick.

  27. Andrew 1 Says:

    I thought Gholston would turn out to be a very good player when we drafted him, the guy is just super talented. He still has a long way to go, but so far so good. You just know Lovie will get this d line playing at an elite level.

  28. bucballer Says:

    I like the idea of drafting the kid Watkins out of Clemson, but who’s going to get him the ball? The deep ball? I’m just not sure you are maximizing your #1 pick with a WR when QB’ s still up in the air. I think you go Defense with first pick, as the best Offense is a good Defense! Or best player available. Better value for your money. Address WR need though Free Agency… I’m just saying…

  29. bucballer Says:

    New to this site. Hello all! Wouldn’t it make more sense to have most recent post at top? Dude, the most recent post is at the top? –Joe

    You have to scroll through a bunch of BS to get to the most recent topic??? Secondly, are all the articles just teasers that make you click on them to finish story? Why not just post the complete article and then move on to the next post? Isn’t this just basic protocol?

  30. bucballer Says:

    Why won’t post any of my comments?

  31. ChrisCo4Bucs Says:

    I would just about bet the farm that #69 will be a Buc in less than a month

  32. SAMCRO Says:

    We can talk about grabbing a QB at all cost in the first round along with what seems like at least 6 teams positioning for the same thing. Supply and demand drives up the cost. Is this one chance really worth future talent?, is Johnny Manziel “Superman”?

    Staying calm, and keeping a clear mind, I am still not opposed to grabbing Jimmy Garoppolo, or Aaron Murray in the 2nd round instead. That would satisfy everyones needs for a new QB (TOY). It would give us a 1st round pick to use on another needed, and important position. Plus a 2nd round pick would give our incumbent 3rd rounder, QB Mike Glennon his competition.

    I am of the opinion, and though it may not resonate with the vast majority of you, that several of the supposed 2nd rounders and on, are as good, if not equal to the talent level in the 1st round. The thing is they ” all ” need development and taking Garoppolo, or Murray in the 2nd round is a smaller price to pay and “again” it provides everything we all agree on, needed competition for Glennon.

    Hell, who knows, maybe Jimmy will win the job, because he’s got Big OT Jake Mathews blocking for him, or J. Clowney is outright scary and will have a breakout rookie season, or they already named Sammy “Buckshot” Watkins. Just Sayin… Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Lovie and staff should have dotted all the I’s and crossed all their T’s by draft day.

    Whatever decision they make will define their future. So be rest assured it will be well thought out. …history can sometimes be a _ _ _ _ _ Go BUCS!

  33. ChrisCo4Bucs Says:

    Our “D” is gonna be scary good next year, I’m predicting top 5, as long as we stay healthy and get some pieces on Offense and we win the division and maybe just maybe 2-3 more games after that

  34. Buc1987 Says:

    ^rolling my eyes^

  35. Joe Says:

    New to this site. Hello all!


    Wouldn’t it make more sense to have most recent post at top?

    Which is why the newest posts are always in chronological order from top to bottom; earliest first.

    You have to scroll through a bunch of BS to get to the most recent topic??? Secondly, are all the articles just teasers that make you click on them to finish story?

    Nope. No teasers. As you can see by clicking “read more” there are no teasers.

    Why not just post the complete article and then move on to the next post?

    what’s one click? Nothing that most other sites (including monster sites like USA Today, Fox Sports, TheBigLead, Deadspin and BSPN) don’t already do. Sadly, Joe is not a charity. This site looks much cleaner and more orderly this way.

    Isn’t this just basic protocol?

    Maybe when the net first launched, yeah.

  36. bucballer Says:

    I appreciate the response Joe! Just wondering… that’s all buddy. Started coming here two weeks ago as I heard you on the radio. Good site. Looking forward to more interesting content as we approach the draft an upcoming season! Peace…

  37. Joe Says:


    Thanks for the kind words.