Let’s get to know everybody’s new favorite player –
Background – For the second year in a row the Jets went with a Jersey boy, as Wilkerson grew up in Linden where he was one of the top players in the state. Wilkerson went on to spend one year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, before moving on to three years at Temple.
College – In 2008 as a freshman, he had 13 tackles with one sack. He followed up with 58 tackles, six sacks, and one forced fumble in his sophomore campaign. In his final year with Temple he finished with 68 tackles, 10 sacks, and a forced fumble earning 1st team All-Mac honors and the team defensive MVP Award before leaving school a year early to declare for the draft.
Vitals – 6 foot 4, 315 pounds, and a 85 1/4 inch wingspan (widest of any defensive tackle in the draft).
NFL Comparison – Both Mike Mayock and Rex Ryan have compared him to Trevor Pryce, who still could return to the Jets next year in a reserve role.
“I want to show teams the type of person I am, my character, being humble,” Wilkerson said, “but that at the end of the day, I can help the team in any way possible. Whatever is asked of me will be done.”
“That’s a tremendous defense they’ve [Jets] got,” Wilkerson said. “I’m glad to be a part of it, and I think I can come in and help the defense be more destructive than it is.”
Quotes courtesy of Jenny Vrentas of New Jersey Star-Ledger.
Where He Fits – In the likely scenario that Shaun Ellis doesn’t return, Wilkerson will become the starting defensive end alongside Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito in the Jets 3-4. It wouldn’t hurt for the Jets to bring back Ellis or maybe Trevor Pryce on a cheap deal to help mentor Wilkerson and allow him to start off more as a rotational player. Regardless, Wilkerson will see plenty of reps in both the Jets 3-4 and 4-3 looks, where he can slide inside to defensive tackle.
Best Case Scenario – Wilkerson becomes a capable starter in his rookie year, providing 5-6 sacks while being stout against the run, and thus showing immense promise for the future.
Worst Case Scenario – He can’t handle a starting role and struggles to stay in the defensive line rotation behind the likes of Marcus Dixon and Ropati Pitoitua.