Draft prospect to watch: Muhammad Wilkerson

Last Friday, we discussed Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith’s emergence as a likely riser at the February 24-March 1 Scouting Combine. This Friday, we look at Temple defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson.

Listed at 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, Wilkerson didn’t generate a ton of buzz playing in the Mid-American Conference. He was only a three-star high school recruit, and spent last season as a second-year starter for an Owls team that went 8-4 and didn’t go to a bowl.

So when Wilkerson’s name showed up on the NFL’s list of underclassmen declaring for the draft, the most common reaction probably was, “Who?”

Three weeks later, Wilkerson is emerging as a near-consensus first-round prospect.

CBS Sports’ Rob Rang ranks Wilkerson as the 25th best player in the draft, calling him “the best defensive lineman no one seems to be talking about … yet.”

John Harris of Lance Zierlein’s (Houston Chronicle) Sideline View blog projects for Wilkerson a rise similar to Tyson Alualu’s last year.  The Jaguars shocked many by drafting Alualu with the 10th overall pick.

Like Rang, NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks ranks Wilkerson No. 25 overall among draft eligibles, noting that the 21-year-old is “creating a buzz in scouting circles.”

Wilkerson led the Owls in tackles for loss, sacks, and quarterback hurries last season, earning a second straight first-team All-MAC pick. He’s considered versatile enough to play in any scheme (3-4 or 4-3), and could solidify himself as a first-rounder with continued excellence in Indianapolis.

7 responses to “Draft prospect to watch: Muhammad Wilkerson

  1. Just goes to show that not all the best players are from the big conferences. Recruiting is not an exact science and kids from smaller schools or inability to attend the camps tend to get overlooked, even with youtube broadcasting tapes. Aaron Rodgers had no looks out of high school and it took his JC teammate to get Jeff Tedford from CAL to visit. Tedford only noticed Rodgers’ ability when he saw him in person. No one else offered Rodgers, and the self-proclaimed experts from the recruiting services such as Scout or Rivals blasted Tedford for recruiting this “nobody” QB from a small JC in northern California.

  2. how in the world do you get a first name like Muhammad when your last name is Wilkerson?

  3. Wilkerson is a guy you take a fourth round flier on, not really a 1 st round pick. While someone previously said, “great talent can be anywhere,” I completely disagree. The MAC has consistently provided players that have underperformed or been utter busts in the NFL when they were drafted in the first round. If Wilkerson was a 4th rounder, absolutely take a shot, but I wouldn’t touch a MAC player in the first two rounds AT MINIMUM.

  4. knowerofallthings Wow with a user name like that you should know that the most popular name in England id “Muhammad” and the name is getting more popular in America. Maybe his parents have some diverse background, maybe he a the civil right to call himself whatever he wants and maybe you need to crawl from out of your cave and explore the world a little?

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