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BTSC Mock Draft - Pick #4 by Oakland Raiders: Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State

maryrose checks in with the Oakland Raiders' pick at #4. A wise choice that Al Davis would be smart to consider if Gholston's on the board. Knowing Davis, he won't, but that doesn't mean the pick doesn't make sense. That means the Kansas City Chiefs and nerves of steel are now on the clock

Oakland Raiders -- Vernon Gholston, Defensive End, Ohio State University

Al Davis has been burned in the past when he did not follow his instincts in drafting sexy, high-impact players (see Robert Gallery). Mr. Davis, please meet Vernon "Mr. Impact" Gholston. When Davis resigned Tommy Kelly in free agency, it was with the idea of moving him inside to replace the retired Warren Sapp. This is good strategy, but now leaves a hole opposite Derrick Burgess at defensive end.

Enter Vernon Gholston. At 6'4," 265 lbs., Gholston is an incredible physical specimen, and rumblings amongst some NFL Scouts (backed up by the size & tone of Gholston's arms) suggest that the Buckeye pass-rusher may very well be the single strongest player in this year's Draft. Gholston burst onto the scene during his Sophomore season, racking up an impressive 15 tackles behind the line of scrimmage (totaling 86 yards in losses) in addition to 7.5 sacks. Ohio State coaches predicted that Gholston's 2007 campaign would be one of the best in school history, and they were right. Gholston was absolutely dominant off the edge this past year, surpassing current New England Patriots LB Mike Vrabel for first all-time in school history with 14 sacks in a single season! Even more, three of those sacks came against school rival Michigan, as Gholston shockingly made top Draft prospect Jake Long (LT) look very beatable in pass protection.

As an added bonus, Gholston could also move to outside linebacker when they go to a 3-4 look and that versatility can't be underestimated. In the words of Emmitt Smith, "Vernon Gholston blowed up at his combines." Seriously - Gholston ran in the 4.5s and notched a 42-inch vertical. Based on his talent, strength, power and quickness, the sky's the limit for Gholston. I can't imagine Al Davis not salivating all over that option.

#1 - Miami Dolphins, Darren Mcfadden
#2 - St. Louis Rams, Chris Long
#3 - Atlanta Falcons, Sedrick Ellis