Gholston was the sixth overall pick in 2008 but failed to become the impact player the Jets envisioned as a hybrid linebacker-defensive end. The Jets plan to have Gholston back up veteran Shaun Ellis and get more athletic at the position.
"That's going to be something that we look forward to," coach Rex Ryan said after the draft Saturday. "So, that's why I never felt that it was a need to jump up and take a defensive end [in the draft] when our plan all along was to put Vernon in a position where he can be successful. I think we did that."
Ryan added that the recent signing of Jason Taylor, who'll provide a pass-rushing presence as a linebacker in the Jets' 3-4 defensive scheme, enabled the team to make the move with Gholston.
The former Ohio State star has not gotten a sack in a regular-season game after setting the Buckeyes' single-season mark with 14 as a senior in 2007. He was sidelined two games last season with a strained hamstring, finishing with 14 tackles in 14 regular-season games.