Temple University defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson reacted with emotion amongst friends and family in his hometown in New Jersey last week, as he learned that he was selected by the New York Jets with the 30th pick of the first round of the 2011 National Football League draft. Wilkerson was in tears, flanked by his mother in hijab and his father in a prayer cap, amongst a group of 80-90 friends and family members at a restaurant in his hometown of Linden, New Jersey. The 6 foot 4, 305 pound Wilkerson is expected to play defensive end in the Jetsâ€™ 3-4 defense, periodically moving inside to the 3 technique defensive tackle position in four-man fronts. â€œI think I can come in and help the defense be more destructive than it is,â€ he stated in a conference call with reporters the night of the draft.
And in addition to being versatile from a position standpoint, Wiikerson is also versatile from a skill-set standpoint, as he is proficient as both a pass-rusher and as a run-stopper. Known not only for his athleticism and strength but also for his work ethic, Wilkerson left college early after his junior year to pursue his dreams of a professional football career. Now that he has been selected in the lucrative first round of the NFL Draft, it appears that his dreams of pro football are about to become a reality. Jets coach Rex Ryan stated that he felt that Muhammad would fit in quite nicely. â€œI think Muhammad really fits what we want to do defensively,â€ Ryan told the Bergen (N.J.) Record. â€œHe was an excellent player in college, but we think heâ€™s got more to give. Weâ€™re going to push him and push him and coach him up to play the way that we play, play like a Jet.â€