INDIANAPOLIS -- Over the next few days, Mike Mamula and Vernon Gholston will be mentioned in tandem as prime examples of how the NFL scouting combine can send teams off beam.
Mamula was the original combine-induced false phenom. The Boston College pass-rusher tested off the charts in 1995 and caused the overexcited Philadelphia Eagles to draft him seventh overall. Mamula lasted six seasons and remains the poster boy for the dangers of combine giddiness.
Gholston, selected sixth overall by the New York Jets two years ago, often gets compared Mamula -- workout warriors who soared up the draft board but didn't perform up to their gaudy measurements.
But with the 2010 combine upon us, here is my plea to end this link immediately.
It's unfair to Mamula.
Gholston -- and Jets fans -- would be ecstatic if he had stats that resembled Mamula's. After two seasons, Mamula started all but three games and registered 13.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and a touchdown.
Gholston has been deactivated for as many games as he has started -- three. He has made 3.5 fewer solo tackles than Mamula had sacks through two seasons. Gholston made one solo tackle as a rookie and nine last year.
Rex Ryan made Gholston a pet project. Neither the extra attention nor the opportunity created when Calvin Pace was suspended the first three games helped.
In case you were wondering, Mamula, who missed all of 1998 with a knee injury, finished with 31.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles, six recoveries and one interception -- certainly not the type of production the Eagles expected when they picked him well ahead of Warren Sapp, Ty Law and Derrick Brooks, but a far better career than what Gholston projects.