Originally written on DraftAce  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Whitney Mercilus DE Illinois #85 Ht: 6’4″

Wt: 265

  Strengths: Prototypical size for a 4-3 end or 3-4 outside linebacker. Uses his speed to consistently get into the backfield. Does a nice job keeping his eyes on the quarterback and getting his hands up into passing lanes. Impressive motor; saw a lot of double teams, but continued to fight through the whistle. Experienced lining up at various spots on the line due to Illinois’ hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense, but at his best as the five-technique (lining up outside the offensive tackle). Some experience playing with his hand off the ground. A mature team leader. Weaknesses: Inconsistent off the snap; dangerous when he explodes off the snap, but too often the last man out of his stance. Struggles to shed blocks against the run, but does hold his ground fairly well. Only one full year of starting experience. Comments: Mercilus is a unique prospect who has experience lining up all over the field at Illinois – 3-4 end, 4-3 end, 4-3 tackle, and outside linebacker – and he excelled wherever his coaches placed him in 2011. The one major concern with Mercilus is his lack of sustained production, which raises some concern that he may be a one-year wonder. He spent most of his career playing with his hand in the dirt, but he actually looks most explosive and natural at linebacker. If he lands in the right system, he could be a dangerous pass-rush threat from day one. Videos: 2011 vs Arizona State
2011 vs UCLA
2011 vs Northwestern
2011 vs Penn State

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