NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper released his Mock Draft version 3.0 yesterday over at ESPN and selected Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson for the Saints at No. 24 overall. It's an Insider article so you'll need to pay a subscription to read it if you're not already a member. I, however, happen to have the crucial information you're looking for and have decided to share that information with you now.
Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
Wilkerson is a player who has seen his stock rise during the draft process. He's a penetrator from the tackle position and could be a cheaper version of Dareus as a guy who can get to the quarterback from the inside. He's scheme-versatile given his size and speed and I've said before that he would be a top-10 pick were he to stay at Temple for another year. The Saints get good value without having to trade up at a position of need and a potential steal if the development continues. Wilkerson was all but unblockable last season.
Alright, I can live with this. A bit of a surprise pick because most other mocks don't have Wilkerson going this high. I don't know who was still left on the board at the time, so I can't say whether it was actually a good pick or not but from the sound of it, Wilkerson certainly sounds like a player the Saints could really use.
To give us a little background, here is what NFL.com has to say about Wilkerson. Check out his lack of weaknesses.
Wilkerson is an elite 3-4 defensive end prospect with idea size, excellent shedding ability and the athleticism to pursue from the backside and rush the passer. Jolts offensive lineman at the point of attack, can beat the double team, finds the football and makes plays against the run. Does not have rare first-step quickness but can take a direct line through blockers to pressure the quarterback and has range against the run. Despite size, is a three-down guy who plays with a high effort level for four quarters. Wilkerson's stock has risen quickly and he could come off the board in the middle of round one.
Wilkerson's a prototypical blend of height, bulk and speed for a defensive tackle or five-technique. Dominant against the run. Has great get off, holds up at the point of attack, shows outstanding ability to shed, and very good closing burst to the ball. Very effective power bull rusher. Has good hands. Good stamina.
Hard to point out weaknesses in his game. Does not possess elite initial quickness off the ball as a pass rusher or penetrating against the run but still good in this area. Shows some nastiness on occasion but would like to see him play with a more consistent mean streak.
What do you guys think about the Saints latest mock draft target? Surprising?