Whitney Mercilus Scouting Report
Whitney Mercilus - Illinois (HT: 6-3⅝ - WT: 261)
Positives -- High energy, lanky pass rusher with an ideal frame and good inside/outside repertoire of speed and power pass rushing moves... There is some obvious straight-line talent there given his numbers as a junior, he has good initial burst and does a solid job getting after the quarterback... Active
hands and plays low with good leverage and technique, flashes some power at the point of attack, long arms and can punch lineman back, gets his arms up to affect passing windows when he can't get to the quarterback... Can be explosive off the edge when he commits to rushing the passer, can dip his shoulder under the reach of lineman and bend the edge with good body control to work his way around the corner... Makes plays in the backfield and goes for the strip, is relentless with a high motor... Broke Illinois and Big Ten records with nine forced fumbles in 2011, was the second-most in NCAA history; also added 16 sacks and won the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation's top defensive end... Has the best last name of any draft prospect of recent memory (pronounced 'merciless'), made a good decision to come out early while he's relatively hot although I don't see his game translating very well to the next level... Flashed the movement skills to fit a 3-4 defense at the combine though I still maintain he's best fit playing with his hand in the dirt as a 4-3 defensive end.
Negatives -- Shows just adequate athleticism on tape; although he's moved around the line and plays both LDE and RDE for Illinois, should only be considered at 4-3 LDE, lacks the edge speed to stick on the right side... Despite having the size of a 3-4 OLB, doesn't appear to have the flexibility or body control to play in space, doesn't have fluid hips or footwork necessary to make the switch, slow and choppy change of direction agility... Isn't real physical and doesn't shed blocks especially well, relies too much on his burst to get to the quarterback; if his initial burst is met successfully, he doesn't have any consistent counter-moves and will struggle to disengage... Doesn't have a great first step, can be slow to react to the snap and often looks like he's playing in slow motion... Illinois' defensive scheme allows him to sell out and rush the passer on almost every snap, has a tendency to forget his responsibilities and leaves his gap open to the run as he's attacking the pocket... Had never seen extensive playing time prior to the 2011 season, is a one-year wonder who lacks upside and not sure how much he'll be able to contribute consistently at the next level... There is something about him that reminds me of Aaron Maybin, have a feeling he'd have come falling back to earth in 2012 as Big Ten offenses start playing to his weaknesses, meaning the days of double digit sacks go right out the window.
Combine Results
Height 6035
Weight 261
Arm 33⅞
40-Time 4.68
Vertical 32
Broad 9'10"
Bench Press 27
Shuttle 4.53
Cone 7.17
At Illinois -- (Official School Bio) Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus declared he is leaving the Illini program a year early. "After a lot of prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided the time is right for me to forgo my senior year and enter the 2012 NFL draft," Mercilus said in a statement. Mercilus tied Simeon Rice's school record with 16 sacks in 2011 while setting a Big Ten record with nine forced fumbles - the second-highest single-season total in NCAA history. He also racked up a conference-best 22.5 tackles for loss while earning first-team All-America honors. Mercilus also won the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. Mercilus entered the season with just two career sacks, but his departure after a monster season didn't come as a surprise following the firing of Ron Zook and with defensive coordinator and interim head coach Vic Koenning declining an offer to stay on as coordinator. 2011: Had a sack and a forced fumble against Wiscosin on Nov. 19... Posted three tackles, one forced fumble, one TFL, one QBH, and one sack against Michigan to move into sole possession of third place on the Illini single-season list for sacks... Recorded six tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble against Penn State, moving into a tie for third on Illinois' single-season sacks list... Had five tackles and 2 TFLs against Purdue... Against Ohio State, had a career-high nine tackles and recorded 1.5 sacks and reached double digits on the year... Had five solo tackles, 4.0 TFLs, 3.0 sacks and two forced fumbles in victory over Indiana... Had six tackles along with 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in win over Northwestern... Recorded four tackles, a career-high three QB hurries and one sack against Western Michigan... Had five tackles, 2.0 sacks, one forced fumble, one PBU and one QB hurry in win over Arizona State... Had three solo tackles, 2.0 TFLs and a forced fumble against Arkansas State. 2010: Played in all 13 games, making two starts... Had 16 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, one sack, two hurries, two forced fumbles and one PBU in 2010... Recorded two tackles, one TFL and forced a fumble in Texas Bowl win over Baylor... Had a tackle and a QB hurry against NIU... Made first career start against SIU, tallying his first solo QB sack, 2 TFLs, a forced fumble, a QB hurry and a PBU.
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