Wilkerson Back in Top 100

Posted May 22, 2015

In Four NFL Seasons, the Temple Product Has Collected 24.5 Sacks, 14 PD & 7 FF

Muhammad Wilkerson has certainly earned the respect of his peers. A year after NFL players voted him No. 42 overall amongst the Top 100 Players, Wilkerson came in No. 74 this spring.

“Whenever he’s out there on that field, the game changes drastically,” said Jets S Jaiquawn Jarrett. “You have to make sure you account for him because at any given moment – he can change the game.”

Wilkerson racked up six sacks and totaled 66 tackles last season as the Jets finished sixth in overall defense and fifth against the run. The 6’4”, 315-pound Wilkerson’s 16.5 sacks have led New York’s AFC representative the past two seasons.

“Just talk about someone who can physically take over a game or his particular area. It’s hard to run the ball at him,” said Raiders QB Derek Carr of Wilkerson. “And at the same time, in the pass game, they put him in spots to create 1-on-1s and he’s a tough guy to block. He really is.”

Carr and TE Lee Smith are scheduled to face Wilkerson and the Jets vaunted defensive line at the O.com Coliseum on Nov. 1.

“He’s elite. He’s one of those guys who’s bigger and stronger, and his arms are longer,” said Smith, who spent the past four seasons with the Bills. “He’s hard to get your hands on and hard to win against.  He’s supposed to be the best, so sometimes you have to put two people on him.”

But therein lies the problem for Jets opponents – you can’t double everyone. Damon “Snacks” Harrison is one of the league’s finest nose tackles, DE Sheldon Richardson is an emerging star and many pundits believe the Green & White selected the top overall player in the 2015 draft class in Leonard Williams. Hybrid defender Quinton Coples, a 6’6”, 290-pounder who played at Hargrave Military Academy with Wilkerson, set a single-season career best with 6.5 sacks last season. The 25-year-old Wilkerson is a versatile lineman who possesses good instincts.

“Just like J.J. Watt, the guy can play outside and inside,” said DL Leger Douzable. “First step quickness is killer. The guy sees things before the ball is snapped and he’s in the backfield before you know it.”

Wilkerson, who was a teammate of Jarrett’s at Temple, has been a consistent force since entering the league in in 2011.

“I met Mo (in) ’08 at Temple and he was just a freak of nature then,” Jarrett said.  “And he’s still a freak of nature now. The things he has done on the field is tremendous.”


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