FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets are converting former first-round draft pick Vernon Gholston into a defensive end after two disappointing years at outside linebacker.
Gholston was the sixth overall pick in 2008, but he 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 become more athletic at the position.
"That's going to be something that we look forward to," Jets 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 move Gholston.
NFL Network's Michael Lombardi confirms the Jets have restructured Gholston's deal to lower his base salary, which was originally $1.9 million. Gholston will have the chance to recoup the money through incentives.
The former Ohio State star hasn't recorded a sack in an NFL regular-season game after setting the Buckeyes' single-season mark with 14 as a senior in 2007. He was sidelined two games last season because of a strained hamstring and finished with 14 tackles in 14 regular-season games.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.