49 Days: Gholston's Year to Reach Potential

As we countdown the days until the Bucs' 1st preseason game, we discuss a different Bucs player at length.

I hope you're enjoying our countdown to the Bucs' first preseason game as much as I am. Rather than writing the same stories on the same players, this gives us an opportunity to discuss most of the players on the Bucs' roster at length. With just 49 days now until that first preseason game, we turn our attention to the Bucs defensive line and William Gholston.

At 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, William Gholston's natural talent and ability was worth the risk for the Bucs in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The cousin of noted NFL bust Vernon Gholston, William Gholston was very similar in that he had untapped potential pouring out of his ears. Unlike his cousin, William did not get drafted at the top of round one, but slid to the middle of the draft where players like this normally go.

Gholston is now two years into his NFL career, and while statistics show he started nine games for Bucs in 2014, he managed just two sacks on the entire season. The two sacks Gholston totaled in 2014 brought his total sack number up to four sacks in his first two NFL seasons. While still possessing a tremendous amount of potential, the question remains as to how long the Bucs should wait to see this potential.

Years three and four are typically very important for project players like Gholston. If he does not continue to show improvement in 2015, he very well could be playing elsewhere in 2016 and beyond.

Gholston will have much competition for playing time in 2015. The additions of George Johnson and Henry Melton, along with returning players like Jacquies Smith and new coach favorite T.J. Fatinikun might make Gholston's playing time scarce if he even makes the final roster. Don't forget players like Larry English and Lawrence Sidbury, both of whom provide much more of a pass rush than Gholston.

This will be a very important training camp and preseason for Gholston, both for his future with the Bucs and his future in the NFL. He might have potential, but potential that's never realized was probably never fully there to begin with. We'll see if Gholston truly has that potential in just a few weeks.

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