Is Mo Wilkerson the Next Big Thing?


Dec 18, 2011; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters (71) blocks New York Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson (96) during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Jets 45-19. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Do the Jets have another breakout star on the roster on defense? The Jets believe that they do.

His name? Mo Wilkerson.

The team feels that Mo is ready to make a big leap in this, his second year with the team. Mike Pettine has certainly liked what he has seen so far.

“Looking back on the spring, if I had to rank our guys – outside of Revis – he was the best player on the field,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine told me. “He was dominant at times … He doesn’t take a day off. He doesn’t take a play off.”

Rex is his usual over-complimentary self as well:

Revis is Revis out there,” Ryan said. “Every day he competes. (Wilkerson) has some of the ability where I think (he) can take it to that next level. Can he be Revis? I don’t know.”

Wilkerson finished his rookie year 49 tackles (35 solo), 3 sacks and 8 QB hurries. He played just over half the snaps in 2011, but in 2012 Pettine expects Wilkerson in there as much as possible.

“Mo’s only going to come off the field when he needs a break,” Pettine said. “I would not be shocked if he had a breakout year. He’s really immersed himself not just in the playbook, but the tape…. He’s got so much more awareness. At times last year, he just lined up and played.”

Mo Wilkerson has been working hard, not only on the field but in the film room, logging loads of time in front of the screen, getting ready to display his athleticism for new line coach Karl Dunbar, and feels good about the praise he is getting:

“If Rex is telling you that, that just shows you all the confidence he has in me as a player,” Wilkerson told me. “He told me about how Revis works hard every day at his craft, working on the little things every day at practice. That’s why he’s so great come game time. That’s something I’m going to take on, working hard every day and doing the little things right so once the game comes, it’s just that much easier.”

Karl Dunbar has been impressed as well:

“He takes coaching well,” Dunbar said. “The things you coach him on, you see him do on the field. The good players can translate the stuff from the classroom to the playing field. That’s what’s really happening with Mo.”

Wilkerson is definitely set up for success. Karl Dunbar has a history of getting a lot out of defensive linemen, see the Williams brothers for an example. If Mo is working this hard, it can only be a positive for him and the D.

And subsequently, for us too.