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Healthy Wilkerson Could Wreak Havoc in 2017

Posted Jul 11, 2017

Jets Camp Preview: Defensive Line


Overview
The Jets have three players on their defensive line  — Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson — who have the potential to dominate every week. The defensive line also features intriguing depth that could allow for flexibility in terms of fronts and rotations. The Green & White tied for fourth last season in terms of yards allowed per rush (3.4) and their linemen accounted for 16.5 of the club’s 27 sacks.

In the Spotlight
While Williams is coming off his first Pro Bowl and may be poised for double-digit sacks and Richardson is a freakish athletic talent, a healthy Wilkerson is a special player in his own right. Less than full strength last season, Wilkerson returned from a broken leg and gutted it out while totaling 67 tackles and 4.5 sacks. But the 6’4”, 315-pounder, who started training camp last summer on the PUP list, was feeling spry this spring. People forget that Wilkerson finished with a team-high 12 sacks in 2015, the most in a season for a Jets player since Shaun Ellis racked up 12.5 in 2003. This is a dangerous player who is feeling like his old self.



Position Battles
Former Packers DT Mike Pennel will push for time early after an impressive spring. Deon Simon is a 6’4”, 332-pound space-eater who took a step forward last season and Steve McLendon brings a stabilizing veteran presence in the middle. Lawrence Thomas flashed in his first camp and appeared in three contests before being placed on injured reserve. There are others who will look to make their marks, but Williams, Wilkerson and Richardson are thoroughbreds and the Jets would figure to ride them a lot in 2017.

Second to Nunn
Todd Bowles revamped most of his defensive staff and Robert Nunn was brought in as the team’s new defensive line coach.  It also went under the radar that the Jets hired former Pro Bowl DT La’Roi Glover as an assistant defensive line coach. Glover, a four-time All-Pro player who had 83.5 QB sacks, was a pass-rushing terror who had excellent technique and played with a non-stop motor.

 


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