Draft preview series: Illinois DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus
April, 4, 2012 Apr 412:01AM CTEmail Print Comments22By Bryan Broaddus and Tim MacMahonThe 18th installment of our draft preview series focuses on Illinois defensive end/outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus.
Scouts Inc. ranks: No. 7 defensive end, No. 37 overall
Bio: Led the nation with 16 sacks and an NCAA-record-tying nine forced fumbles as a redshirt junior in 2011, when he also had 57 tackles, including 22.5 for losses. Was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award and semifinalist for the Bednarik, Lombardi and Hendrick Awards in his only season as a full-time starter at Illinois. Had only two sacks, 6.5 tackles for losses and two forced fumbles in the previous two seasons.
Brad Schloss/Icon SMI
Illinois' Whitney Mercilus led the nation in sacks (16) and set a Big Ten record with nine forced fumbles.Size: 6-foot-3 5/8, 261 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.68 seconds
225-pound bench press reps: 27 times
Vertical jump: 32 inches
Broad jump: 9-foot-10
20-yard shuttle: 4.53 seconds
Three-cone drill: 7.17 seconds
Broaddus Breakdown (viewed Arizona State, Northwestern and UCLA games): Played as the strong defensive end in a four-man line for Illinois. Will project to an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme in the NFL. … Physically is a good-looking player and plays with a great deal of quickness. Does a really nice job of rushing up the field and putting pressure on the blocker. Gives you a variety of pass-rush moves. … Of these defensive ends that are projected to linebacker, he and Andre Branch of Clemson did the best job of playing with pass-rush moves. Mercilus will explode up the field, gauge the depth of the tackle, and when they raise their hands to punch him, he will slap them down and take the corner. Used this technique for a sack against UCLA. … Likes to also set the tackles up by going hard up field and getting all their weight on the outside foot, then spinning inside. Was able to pull this move off against Northwestern for a sack. … Really nice lateral movement and quickness