Here's what some of the experts had to say about our newest Jet, Muhammad Wilkerson
Positive: Terrific junior defensive line prospect with a great amount of upside. Flashes athleticism, moves well about the field, and shows ability in pursuit. Possesses a burst of speed, quickly changes direction, and easily gets out to the sidelines, making plays in space. Stays within his angle of attack, tough to move off the point, and can be an overwhelming force who bulrushes blockers off the line of scrimmage. Possesses good size as well as growth potential.
Negative: Must develop more moves with his hands. Lacks the great bulk to this point to be an interior tackle.
Analysis: Wilkerson has shown tremendous improvement in his game the past two seasons and comes with a great amount of potential. He has the ability to be used at several spots on the line of scrimmage and can line up as a three-technique tackle or two-gap end. He should only get better as he physically matures and improves the details of his game, eventually developing into a productive starter at the next level.
Muhammad Wilkerson vs. Penn State (2010) (via MARI0clp)
Wilkerson was coveted as a football and basketball prospect coming out of high school. He looks like a NFL defensive tackle but moves like the power forward who helped his AAU team to the national tournament.
Wilkerson's surprising agility intrigues scouts. He'll need to learn to use his hands to be effective at the next level and must build strength in his first couple of NFL seasons, but has the potential to grow into a prototypical 3-4 defensive end or 4-3 tackle. He has been a steady riser during the pre-draft process, and could sneak into the bottom third of the first round.
Pass rush: Overwhelms college tackles with size and strength, then chases down quarterbacks with his length and nimble feet. Lacks a quick first step, but flashes a swim move and closing speed to the passer. Feels cut blocks, keeps his hands involved and watches for the quick throw in his direction. Must improve his hand usage to consistently get off blocks inside. Eats up multiple blockers on inside twists to free up other defensive linemen. Effective bull-rushing college tackles when coming from outside the tackle, but rarely pushes back interior linemen. Not sudden or flexible enough to get the corner.
Run defense: Agile five-technique who lines up on either side of the formation. Patient and keeps his eyes in the backfield to contain; very solid in his outside assignment. Comes off outside path or double teams inside to spin/shed, catching back running through the hole. Uses shoulder to hold off blockers while slanting into the backfield. Not exceptional change-of-direction agility but his length allows him to get a hand on ballcarriers trying to get through the hole. Not a dominating interior player despite his size. NFL blockers will win the leverage battle until he gets stronger and more physical inside.
Explosion: Has the potential to be very explosive off the snap, but comes off a bit slow and must use his strength to pop into the chest of blockers. Can utilize his strength and length to hit hard and squeeze the football from a ballcarrier.
Strength: Flashes strong hands, playing with leverage, and the ability to push off linemen to make tackles. Gets stood up at the line too often instead of bull-rushing his man backward or pushing his way through the double-team.
Tackling: Tall, thick frame and long arms make him difficult to avoid in tight quarters and to shed once latched on. Gets a lot of tackles with hustle, keeps his feet moving when chasing from behind. Lacks superior straight-line speed but gives excellent effort to the sideline. Must drop his hips to bring down more elusive pro ballcarriers.
Intangibles: Plays a lot of snaps given his size but gives good effort throughout the game. Attended Hargrave Military Academy. Temple's defensive MVP in 2010. No known character issues.
Positives: Versatile, plays everywhere on the defensive line... Good athlete... Reasonably agile... Good length and long arms... Good pass rusher... Good quickness... Good burst off the ball... Disruptive... Active hands... Can push and pressure the pocket... Plays with good leverage... Can penetrate... Good bulk... Good power... Good strength at the point of attack... Can get off blocks well... Good technique... Fights through double teams... Bats down a lot of passes... Holds his ground versus the run... Anchors well... Makes plays in the backfield... Stacks and sheds well... Good tackler... Hard hitter... Good awareness... Has a nose for the football... Selected All-MAC first team for the 2009 and 2010 seasons... Schematic versatility, fits as a 4-3 NT or 3-4 DE... Has had a good offseason, was a second round lock who is now getting mid- to late-first round consideration.
Negatives: Not much of an arsenal, with the exception of bull rush... Will raise up as he penetrates and lose leverage... Gets a little too upright moving down the line of scrimmage... Mean streak is still developing... Lack of competition playing in the MAC.
He has good athletic ability with speed (4.98). His change of direction is good for a big man and he has very good balance. Wilkerson is not your typical MAC defensive lineman, having more size and NFL traits than you’re used to seeing in the MAC.
Wilkerson played as a 5-technique defensive end in Temple’s 3-4 scheme. Looking at tape, I don’t feel the scheme utilized his traits that well. He played in a read and contain type defense and they did little attacking. He shows excellent strength and power at the point of attack and never gives ground. He has very good two-gap skills and handles the double team well. Because of his power and explosiveness, he is best at attacking; when he comes hard he can be very difficult to block or contain. He does get penetration and is disruptive. He plays with a good motor and does a good job in pursuit.
As a pass rusher, he is very raw; he gets his production on natural talent. He lacks good hand use and isn’t good at putting moves together but I feel with NFL coaching he will only get better. One thing that was obvious on tape was when Temple needed a play to be made, Wilkerson made it!
Overall, this is a very interesting prospect. As I said above he is very raw but that’s what makes him so interesting. He is going to need time and coaching but once he gets it down this player will be a defensive force in the NFL. The sky is the limit with this player and I’m not sure he even knows how good he can be. Most of his improvement needs to come with technique work. I have no problem with his on the field competitiveness. I see him best as a defensive end in a 3-4 but I also feel he could be a defensive tackle in a 4-man front.
Great size - tall with long arms Agile former basketball player Pushes pocket and penetrates Able to shoot gaps Anchors well against the run Good pass rusher Scheme and position versatility
Rushes with power; needs to learn moves Tendency to get caught upright Did not compete against elite competition Has to get stronger Needs to use his hands more effectively
Summary: Muhammad Wilkerson is going to draw interest because of his potential as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. Playing inside at tackle, he recorded an impressive 16.5 sacks over the past two seasons although the level of competition (MAC) has to be factored in. Wilkerson finds other ways to make life difficult for the opposing offense by batting down passes and occupying space against the run.
Player Comparison: Ty Warren. This is difficult because I want to compare Wilkerson to a quality 3-4 defensive end, which I believe he is going to be in the NFL. Warren went to Texas A&M so he didn't have questions about the level of competition en route to going No. 13 overall. Both guys are athletic and like Warren, I can see Wilkerson tallying a few sacks per season.