Here at Turn On The Jets, we decided to take a page out of Robert Mays book over at Grantland (a polite way of saying rip his article idea off) by counting down the 115 days until the New York Jets kick off, with a daily reason to get excited about their return. Mays has the whole NFL to work with, we only have the Goddamn Jets…now there is a challenge, step your game up Mays!
We start today with Muhammad Wilkerson and his beastliness
The New York Jets took Wilkerson with the 30th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, breaking a running three year streak of awful early round choices. Vernon Gholston at #6 in 2008? Mark Sanchez at #5 in 2009? Kyle Wilson at #29 in 2010? Vlad Ducasse at #61 in 2010? GAHH!
Finally the Jets got one right with Wilkerson who started from day one in 2011 and finished with 49 tackles, 3 sacks and a forced fumble. It was an encouraging rookie season where he was productive but also flashed immense potential for the future.
Wilkerson didn’t wait long to meet that demonstrated potential, as he was terrific last season and really should have been a 2nd Team All-Pro selection and Pro-Bowl player. The numbers are nice for a 3-4 defensive end (69 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 touchdown, 4 passes defensed) but how Wilkerson was able to dominate the line of scrimmage so consistently despite always being double teamed is what was really impressive.
Pro Football Focus had Wilkerson ranked as the 14th best player in the NFL last year and the 2nd best 3-4 defensive end behind JJ Watt (who just knocked down another Mark Sanchez pass somewhere). The film from Wilkerson throughout the 2012 season was so impressive that I thought our resident defensive lineman Chris Gross would be getting a Wilkerson tattoo by the end of the year. Whether it was blocking field goals, running back touchdowns ended by dunks over the goal post, or coming up with another strip sack, Wilkerson was a beast in 2012 and projects to be even better in 2013.
Why is that? As we discussed earlier at TOJ, the growth of Quinton Coples and the additions of Sheldon Richardson and Antwan Barnes should allow for less double teams on Wilkerson, which means more havoc caused by him upfront.
The YouTube directory on Wilkerson is horrifically weak, the best thing I could find is him buying a house on this awful celebrity realtor show
More importantly this picture of a jovial Wilkerson made it to the TOJ banner, as he has taken over the title and banner location from Darrelle Revis as the best overall player on the team. HIGH HONORS!
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS STORY PITCH OF THE DAY - 1,900 words on how Matt Simms isn’t really going to get a fair shake in the quarterback competition, anonymously sourced by the taco stand guy who works near Florham Park who said “Simms? Guy is just camp arm with a famous last name” ZING…still a hard hitting enough quote for the NYDN.
RANDOM JET TO REMEMBER OF THE DAY - JOE KOWALESKI! Who caught a 1 yard touchdown pass for the 2007 Jets against Washington? Backup tight end/fullback/H-Back Joe Kowaleski did!
“It was a 1-yard catch and about a 50-yard celebration,” Jets Coach Eric Mangini said of the reception in Sunday’s loss to the Redskins. “I lost track of it after the first 20 yards and 35 fist pumps.”
“That’s the longest celebration I’ve seen in my life,“ linebacker Eric Barton said.