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Gholston's stock continues to rise as draft nears

As much as Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston wowed scouts during his personal workout Friday, he did the same during private individual workouts Monday for the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets.

Miami, which owns the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft, sent its defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni to Columbus to personally work out Gholston on Monday morning. Miami is scheduled to pick first overall.

After Miami worked out Gholston in the morning, the New York Jets, who own the sixth overall pick, put the Ohio State defensive end through the pre-draft version of two-a-days, with him providing a personal workout session for Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.


Where does Vic Carucci think Vernon Gholston will land in the 2008 NFL Draft. Find out in the latest edition of his mock draft. Full story ...

It has now become apparent that Gholston could become the top defensive player drafted, and is unlikely to slip much beyond the sixth overall pick.

His talents are too immense; which are backed up by his production. Gholston has posted 22 ½ sacks combined over the last two season, more than any of the draft's top-rated defensive players.

NFL scouts glimpsed Gholston's talents last Friday, when the Ohio State defensive end vertical jumped 42 inches and ran the 40-yard dash on a slower field-turf surface in 4.58 seconds.

The vertical jump was six inches higher than Gholston registered last month at the scouting combine in Indianapolis; his 40-yard dash time was almost a full tenth of a second better than his 4.65 40-yard-dash time at the combine.

The night before the workout, the Dolphins and St. Louis Rams, who have the second pick, each took Gholston to dinner. Gholston had two dinners Thursday night, and two private workouts Monday.

The doubleheaders are the strongest evidence to date that Gholston's stock is rising, even higher than it already was.

Dunn not done in Tampa Bay

Warrick Dunn, the oldest running back in the league, not counting fullbacks, is expected to finish his career in the same city he started it back in 1997.

Dunn reached agreement with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a two-year, $6 million contract that includes $2 million in guaranteed money and $3 million in the first year of the deal.

The 33-year-old Dunn also drew interest from Houston, but Tampa was too appealing. Dunn could wind up starting ahead of Earnest Graham and Cadillac Williams, who is coming off major knee surgery.

Quarterback carousel

When one quarterback domino falls, others follow.

The first tumbled Monday, when Trent Green reached agreement with St. Louis on a three-year, $8.9 million contract that included a $2.1 million signing bonus. Green returns to St. Louis, where he spent the 1999 and 2000 seasons before losing his job to Kurt Warner.

With Green off the board, the Packers welcomed former Jacksonville free-agent quarterback Quinn Gray to Green Bay for a visit Monday night. But Gray has more options than just Green Bay. The Raiders also are planning to bring him to Oakland on Tuesday for a visit. The Raiders could sign Gray to backup former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell, freeing Oakland to possibly trade another backup quarterback, Andrew Walter.

Meanwhile, former No. 1 overall pick David Carr is scheduled to visit the New York Giants on Wednesday. Should the Giants sign Carr, they would have two former No. 1 overall picks -– Carr and Eli Manning.

Extra points

»The Lions traded for running back Tatum Bell and offensive tackle George Foster last year. On Monday, the Lions re-signed both Bell and Foster. Bell signed a one-year, $1.6 million deal.

»Indianapolis free-agent tight end Ben Utecht visited the New York Jets on Monday.

»The Buccaneers signed former standout wide receiver Antonio Bryant, who is coming off suspension. Bryant always has been an immense talent who has had some off-the-field issues. If he straightens out his act, Tampa Bay has a find.

»The Buffalo Bills signed former Falcons tight end Courtney Anderson.

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