Roster Rundown: #96 Muhammad Wilkerson

Position: Defensive Line
Height / Weight: 6’4″ 315 lbs.
Age: 22 / Experience: 1
College: Temple

2011 Contract Status: Signed through 2014

2011 Analysis: For a rookie, Mo had a pretty good year.  While there were some times he struggled gaining leverage on his opponents, on the whole he played well and at the end of the season started to really understand how to use his frame and skills to beat back opponents at the line of scrimmage at this level.  Mo racked up 49 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble over the course of the year out of a position that in Ryan’s scheme isn’t a “glamour” spot on the line.  While Mo was a step down at the start of the season from longtime veteran Shaun Ellis, it was evident by his play that he’ll make a great defensive lineman for this team for a long time to come.

2012 Outlook: The second year player only projects upward as he better understands the game and his abilities.  While he only recorded 3 stuffs in the first half of the season, he had six during the second, which had to make Rex and the defensive coaching staff feel pretty confident about how he will play in future years.  Of course, his continued growth could depend on what the Jets do with the rest of the line this offseason.  Pouha is a free agent, though a likely return, and DeVito who was injured some during the course of 2011, is a tantalizing cap number for the Jets if they get desperate for room.  All that to say, if DeVito and Pouha return, expect Wilkerson’s production to quicken, but if they don’t … it might flatten out his efforts in 2012.

Random Thought: Seeing Wilkerson play this year tamped down any charges that there might have been against him playing against lesser talent at Temple.  Wilkerson is the real deal, and while he might never have 10 sacks a season, he’s going to be an invaluable talent to this defense over the next decade much like Shaun Ellis was during the last.




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