Wilkerson is a 6'5 305+ lb DE from Temple. As you can see from his size he is Ideally suited for a 34 DE and in the Packers case he would line up at LDE. Blessed with long arm and large hands Wilkerson is able to use these to get into and control the OL who face him. He is also able to use his size and strength to overpower and at times dominate inferior OL. Wilkerson has the strength, power and overall ability to take on double teams at the LOS and he has the ability to beat them on a fairly consistent basis. In addition to his ability to beat double teams Wilkerson makes a living playing in the oppositions backfield... Creating pressure on the QB and stuffing the RB, Wilkerson is among the many 34 DE at the top of this draft who are actually playmakers, instead of just run stuffing space eaters! When playing the run he can stack the double team, beat it on occasion and gives excellent effort in pursuit. Wilkerson is far from a big slug taking up space and allowing plays around him... He plays with great effort and has above average athleticism for the position.
As we lead up to the draft in about a month, I decided it was time to start focusing in on some possible Packer choices. As such I decided to start a series of inside looks at possibilties for the choice at #32 and possibly into the next few rounds. The series starts with who I believe is the most likely choice as the Packers pick, as you guessed, thats Muhammad Wilkerson DE, Temple and will continue with 8-10 other choices over the next month.
More after the jump...
In the pass rush Wilkerson is good, not great at beating the OT to the edge. However, as an interior pass rusher, Wilkerson can really shine. He can use his reach and hands to control the OG and possesses strong rip and jerk moves to beat and disengage and create pressure on his own. He is also well equipped to bull rush the OL maintaining rush lane integrity to collapse the pocket. While not blessed with an explosive first step he has good quickness though not great or as good as some of the other 34 DE's that will be drafted earlier, like Watt and Cam Jordan. Wilkerson uses his length and power to get his pressure on the QB. He isn't the type to consistently beat the OT to the outside, but is better slanting to the QB taking a straighter line to his target or playing at DT on pass downs. He is a power player vs both the run and pass.
Wilkerson is a player with the ideal size to play LDE in a 34 Defense, which happens to be the position and defense he played in at Temple. He is a player with as much and possibly more upside as any 34 DE in this draft. He has the size, strength, length and athletic ability to become a force at DE. He has few blemishes in his game... As mentioned he lacks ideal quickness and explosiveness, its more than good enough but not top shelf. On occasion Wilkerson can get a little high in his stance and get weashed out of the play, but the vast majority of the time he plays w/ excellent leverage, not to mention effort and can also sort thru traffic to make plays down the LOS. While not necessarily a negative, Wilkerson played at a realatively small school. Temple's football program is just starting to match its long standing basketball program as a consistent Division 1 success. Wilkerson spent 1 year at a military academy before moving on to Temple, as such he is a true Jr, but would be a true Sr, if not for the year at the military academy.
In conclusion, Wilkerson is a player with tremendous growth potential as a 34 DE and interior pass rusher at the next level. He is expected to be chosen anywhere from the 20 - 40 range overall. The Packers have a minor need at the position with the legal trouble of Jolly derailing his career and with Jenkins likely leaving in FA. How does a DL of Wilkerson, Raji and Neal sound to you? It sounds like an ideal fit of need, draft grade and likelihood to me!!!