6’5 272 lbs - Senior
2019: 47 tackles / 9.5 TFL / 3 sacks / 1 interception / 5 pass break ups
2018: 35 tackles / 9 TFL / 3.5 sacks / 1 interception / 1 pass break up
Chauncey Golston has been a familiar face along the Iowa defensive line, but he has spent the last two years in the shadows of current NFL lineman Anthony Nelson and A.J. Epenesa. While the numbers do not jump off the page, Golston’s play and versatility have been an important piece in Iowa’s highly ranked defenses the past two seasons.
Golston first came on the scene as a backup to Nelson and a pass rush specialist in Iowa’s Raider package. His ability to play both inside and out allowed Iowa to be more creative in those pass situations.
While Golston showed up in pass situations, his ability to defend the run jumps out on film.
Early in the game on 4th and 2, Golston blows up the run before it has a chance to get started. He is lined up with outside position against the right tackle. At the snap, he gives a quick swim move and goes right by the tackle. Once he’s past the line, he does an excellent job of scraping down and wrapping the running back in the backfield. He has no chance to fall forward to gain a cheap first down.
(Don’t feel bad rewatching that clip over-and-over laughing at the lineman trying to figure out where Golston went as he blew past him)
Not only can he blow past lineman with speed, but he shows textbook run technique to blow up an outside zone read run. At the snap, he closes space and gets helmet-to-helmet with the lineman. After engaging, he explodes his arms to create distance and keep the lineman’s hands off his body. He’s able to stack the lineman and shuffle his feet to create outside leverage. With nowhere to go, the running back is forced to cut back inside toward the rest of the pursuing defense.
This play is very similar to the previous one with Golston doing an excellent job of using his length to create space. This time as the back continues to stretch the play and bounce outside, he easily sheds the right tackle to combine for the stop.
Another use for length
In 2019, Golston had 5 pass break ups. He’s not out defending receivers, but does an excellent job of closing pass lanes and utilizing his length. The ability to keep lineman off his body in the run game is the same skill he uses to keep an arm free to knock down passes and disrupt passing angles.
I keep mentioning length and his ability to create space, but it really is something special. On the first play against Penn State, he simply stiff arms the right tackle with a long right arm. The pressure creates an off target throw that nearly leads to an interception. Without the pressure, Penn State’s best offensive weapon would have had the ball in open space with three blockers out front.
If you are going to play defensive end against modern spread offenses, you need to be able to read and react quickly. On the jet sweep, the offense does not account for blocking the defensive end banking on the ability to run by him when given a running start. Golston recognizes he isn’t blocked and doesn’t put himself out of position. He quickly reads the play, and uses his reach to make the tackle for loss.
Outside and Inside
Golston’s versatility allowed Iowa to use hybrid players like Amani Jones and Joe Evans to help with the pass rush. On 3rd and 6, Golston lines up at defensive tackle. He uses his speed to split the gap between the right guard and tackle. Once again he does an excellent job of changing directions once getting past the lineman. His pressure forces the quarterback out of the pocket and a near interception.
Golston uses the swim move again to find his way into the offensive background. He isn’t able to get the sack on 4th down, but it’s another pressure to add to the list.
Clips vs Michigan
Despite playing in shadow of past defensive ends, Golston has the chance to shine his own light during his senior season. He’s a well rounded and versatile lineman who could be a focal point of another outstanding Iowa defense.