It’s April 19th, meaning there are only six days to go until the 2019 NFL Draft kicks off in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee.
As we count down the days until the Jets prepare for their fifth draft under Mike Maccagnan, I thought it would be fun to climb up the ladder of the best Jets draft picks of the 21st century.
Each day until the fateful morning of the 25th, I’ll name off one of the top eleven most productive Jets selections of the millennium. How did I rank them, you might ask? Good question! I stacked them up according to their scores as calculated by my genius formula — proven to be 100% accurate and 0% arbitrary!
Players earned points for accomplishing any of the following while in a Jets uniform:
- 50 points for a first team All-Pro appearance
- 25 points for a Pro Bowl appearance
- 1 point for each point of Approximate Value (via Pro Football Reference - a number that aims to calculate a player’s total value)
- 0.5 points for each regular season game played
Yesterday, I continued the rankings at #8 with Bryan Thomas. Let’s move up to #7!
#7 - MUHAMMAD WILKERSON
148.5 points: 71 approximate value (5th among all Jets draft picks since 2000), 105 regular season games played (T-8th), one Pro Bowl appearance
- Born and attended high school in Linden, New Jersey
- Selected 30th overall by the Jets in the first round of the 2011 Draft (Temple)
- Played with Jets from 2011-17 and Packers in 2018, currently a free agent
- Career Jets regular season stats: 405 tackles, 71 tackles for loss, 103 quarterback hits, 44.5 sacks, 29 passes defended, 11 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovered, 1 safety
- Wilkerson ranks sixth on the all-time Jets sack list with 44.5. His 12.0 sack season in 2015 ranks as the seventh-best single-season total in team history, while his 10.5 sacks in 2013 ties for the ninth-best total. He also ranks sixth in team history in forced fumbles, with 11.
- Surprisingly, Wilkerson is placed 11th on the Jets franchise list in passes defended since the stat was first tracked in 1999. Since he entered the league in 2011, Wilkerson is tied for eighth in the league in passes defended among defensive linemen. During his Jets tenure, Wilkerson’s 29 passes defended was nearly equal to the total accumulated by all other Jets defensive linemen combined over that span (31).
- Once he got to pair up with Sheldon Richardson, Wilkerson started to produce at a dominant level. From 2013 to 2015, Wilkerson collected 28.5 sacks, 12th most in the league, and 67 quarterback hits, sixth most in the league. Among players weighing in at 300+ pounds, Wilkerson ranked second in sacks and first in quarterback hits over that span.
- Since tackles for loss were first tracked in 1999, Wilkerson ranks second in the category among Jets defensive players over that span, collecting 71 in his regular season career. Only Ellis (80) has him beat.
- Wilkerson is the most recent Jet to score a fumble recovery touchdown. He did it in Seattle on November 11th, 2012, scooping up a Russell Wilson fumble caused by a Mike DeVito sack and taking it to the house. It was the only Jets score in a 28-7 loss. That game stands as one of only two in franchise history in which the team’s only points scored came on the defensive side. The first occurrence was a 14-29 loss to the Saints in October of 1989, in which Erik McMillan notched a pick six and James Hasty recorded a scoop-and-score.