New York Jets: The Rise of Muhammad Wilkerson
There hasn’t been a lot of positive feeling around the New York Jets this season to say the least. With the announcement of Fireman Ed hanging up his helmet yesterday, the Jets have really hit rock bottom. There is a lot of talk that General Manager Mike Tannenbaum could potentially lose his job or be re-assigned at the end of the season.
One player who Tannenbaum has drafted and produced is second-year defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. Wilkerson was the 30th pick in the first round of the 2011 draft from Temple University. The Jets play a majority of their defense in a 3-4 alignment with the three defensive linemen designed to occupy blockers so the linebackers make the plays.
Wilkerson has 50 tackles with 28 being solo so far this year. He has also contributed two sacks, three forced fumbles, two passes defended and had the teams only touchdown in the loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He played all sixteen games last season and had 49 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble and two passes defended.
It was thought Wilkerson would need time to develop as he came from a small college program. Temple is now in the Big East for football but they were members of the Mid-American Conference prior to this season. He posted 68 tackles and 10 sacks for the Owls in 2010 as a junior. Temple lost to Penn State that season early in the year but Wilkerson had nine tackles and a forced fumble against his biggest competition of the season.
Jets fans can look at Wilkerson as one of the silver linings in an otherwise disappointing season.