Muhammad Wilkerson: Stay or Go?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 24: Eli Manning #!0 of the New York Giants is sacked by Muhammad Wilkerson #96 of the New York Jets during the second half of a game at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2011 in East Rutherford. New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

Muhammad Wilkerson is a study in long term building. Defensive end in a 3-4 base defense is a very difficult position to master. Few rookies enter the league with the kind of consistent technique necessary to dominate. To his credit, Wilkerson held his own for much of the year faring far better than a lot of rookies would have. The Jets still might have been better in 2011 going with a veteran.

For the future, however, all of the reps Wilkerson got will be a major help. The only way he will get more consistent is to get on the field more. We saw flashes particularly near the end of the year of potential for him to become a dominant force on the defensive line. He started to learn how to use his long arms to shed blockers and his athleticism to get into the backfield and make plays. It is exciting to think of how good he can get once the coaching staff gets to refine him for an entire offseason.

Wilkerson does not play an impact position. His job will be to do a lot of the dirty work in the trenches, penetrating and tying up blockers to set other guys up to make plays. He will probably never get a ton of recognition for doing this. I think in due time Jets fans on GGN and elsewhere will become united in griping about how underrated Wilkerson will be.

It is pretty obvious Wilkerson is going to stay.

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