Muhammad Wilkerson, DT/DE, Temple Owls
Muhammad Wilkerson knows how to get after the passer. He displays solid footwork and shows a good first step. At 6'5 and with long arms, he has a natural advantage over many offensive linemen to gain leverage, even if he is still learning how to properly take advantage of it. He uses his hands well to get off blocks in run defense and demonstrates good quickness to beat defenders. He's surprisingly agile for a 300-pound man with good bulk. Against a single blocker, he's very difficult to block and he anchors well against double teams.
He needs to work on his technique a bit, as he has trouble keeping blockers from locking onto him. Otherwise, his footwork is impressive and he can shed blocks quite well. Teams may also like to see him extend his arsenal of pass rush moves to add more variety. In a February interview with the National Football Post, Wilkerson pointed to "tightening up my hand placement and pad level," as areas of his game that need work.e.
Wilkerson is another prospect projected as a 3-4 end or 4-3 tackle prospect, and he's played both positions while at Temple. He has stated that he has no preference as far as what position he plays. "Wherever the coach wants me, I'm going to be there," Wilkerson said according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He recorded 61 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2009 and 70 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks as a junior in 2010.
Potential NFL Team, Round
Wilkerson's versatility along the defensive line will help his draft stock and both 4-3 and 3-4 teams consider his services. However, with such a deep class of defensive linemen, Wilkerson may not hear his name called until the second round. He's a trendy pick for the New York Jets with the 30th overall selection at the end of the round where he'd play end in their 3-4 alignment.
The New England Patriots own the Carolina Panthers' second round pick (33rd overall) and could look at Wilkerson with that pick if they don't take him with one of their two first round selections, while the Buffalo Bills may try to add to their defensive line with the 34th overall pick if they do not address that need in the first round. Both the Denver Broncos (36th) and Cleveland Browns (37th) are moving to a 4-3 alignment and need personnel that fits their new scheme. Wilkerson would be a good choice as an interior pass rusher from the tackle spot for either team.
Danny Hobrock, a sports journalist covering NCAA Football and MLB is the editor of our college football content. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ DannyHobrock
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