Illinois defensive end/outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus has been a favorite of some in mock drafts to land with the Patriots.
His media session at the combine merely enhanced the possibility. For starters he has the right build and look of an outside linebacker in a Bill Belichick 3-4 defense, assuming that’s what the Pats will go back to next season. Mercilus certainly looked the part at 6-3, 260.
This past season, he produced incredible numbers, with 16 sacks and 9 forced fumbles. Now, it was an amazing leap from any prior output. He knows all about the one-hit wonder label. How he handled those questions was impressive.
“I just was able to put everything together,” Mercilus said when asked to explain his sack total. ”I was still learning the game as a redshirt sophomore and a redshirt freshman. Just last year, studying myself more, seeing what I do best and just put it all together for the 2011 season. I broke out that season.” (more…)