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Can Whitney Mercilus play 3-4 SOLB

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by supercowboy8, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. supercowboy8

    supercowboy8 Well-Known Member

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    The answer is no and I will tell you why. A 3-4 SOLB has to stuff the run, be agile to get around blockers to stop the run and be able to turn and cover. He is a good pass rusher but we have Ware on the weak side doing that.
    Read below as to why I don't think he can play in a 3-4 on the strong side.

    CBS sports:
    Run defense: Lacks an obvious power element to his game and struggles to shed blocks on run plays. Doesn't consistently set the edge and will over run his responsibilities. Still developing his recognition skills and instincts. Struggles to consistently locate the ball and will get caught out of position at times.

    Lacks great change-of-direction ability to explode laterally or smoothly redirect his momentum.

    Wes Bunting:
    Has only one year of solid production, finishing the 2009 and 2010 season with only one sack a piece.
    Struggles with pad level through contact. Has a tendency to pop upright in the run game and struggles to disengage.
    Needs to do a better job extending his long arms into contact vs. the run game. Allows opposing blockers to get into his frame and stick to him through contact.
    Fails to keep himself clean and sit into his base vs. the run game.
    Instincts and overall ball awareness vs. the run game are poor. Struggles to consistently find the football.
    Even when he does find the football looks too stiff in the lower half to consistently breakdown and doesn't play real quick in tight quarters vs. the run.
    Too often allows ball carriers to run right by him on the edge when unblocked.
    Gives up leverage through contact and can be easily ridden past the play.
    Gets upright through contact as a bull rusher and vs. stronger tackles isn't going to be nearly as effective as a power player.
    Isn't real sudden laterally. More of a linear athlete who struggles to quickly change directions in order to slip blocks inside.
    Doesn't use his hands well to disengage through contact. Can eventually manhandle his opponent for the most part, but gets upright and isn't real violent with his hands when engaged.

    Impression: Physically he looks the part and has the skill to simply man handle college lineman at times. However, he's a raw kid who is stiff in the hips and doesn't have a great feel for the game when asked to find the football. He's got some upside, but his tightness and overall lack of natural feel for the game are two very big concerns that will keep him from being the type of pass rusher his freaky skill set says he could.
  2. texbumthelife

    texbumthelife Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anything about him so I have no opinion but, those sound like almost the exact same things people were saying about Aldon Smith last year.
  3. TheCoolFan

    TheCoolFan Well-Known Member

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    Don't get caught up too much in what a SOLB does. Rushing the passer is the most important aspect...if a prospect can excel at that then he'll get on the field at any position in the front seven.

    Most of these guys come out of college playing DE and have to adjust to playing OLB in a 3-4 in the NFL.
  4. Gaede

    Gaede Well-Known Member

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    Yes he can. Stopping the run is one area he's got the most potential in. Coverage, he wouldn't be so great at. But in our scheme, I doubt he'd be asked to do much of it. But run stopping won't be a problem with him. Just watch the highlights of him. There's so many plays where he not only stands his ground against the tackles, but just blows through them. You don't get as many tackles for loss as he had not being a good run stopper.

    This guy's a pressure player who has the athleticism to stand up and strength to play down. He would greatly diversify our defense and make it so teams don't know what alignment we're running on a given down.
  5. supercowboy8

    supercowboy8 Well-Known Member

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    So Wes bunting and cbs sports is wrong and you are right. Sorry but I'm going with wes bunting on this one.

    Also ryan talks about how good Spencer is in coverage, and Spencer drops back a good amount of the time
  6. TheFinisher

    TheFinisher Well-Known Member

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    Wes Bunting's site also had this to say about Mercilus after the combine:

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/NFL-Combine-5-prospects-to-do-your-homework-on.html


    Bunting kept saying on twitter how Mercilus really surprised him in drills and is a lot more fluid than he anticipated.
  7. VACowboy

    VACowboy Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    If Greg Ellis can play linebacker, I'm betting Mercilus can too.

    Just sayin'...
  8. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Spencer does not do that much coverage; no one expects much when a guy is 260+ lbs. They just pretty much occupy an area.
  9. Gaede

    Gaede Well-Known Member

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    That kind of thinking is dangerous.

    Just because an internet expert believes something to be true, doesn't mean it is or will be.

    I like to think for myself.
  10. Oh_Canada

    Oh_Canada Well-Known Member

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    Looks like Bunting is backtracking a bit...given his combine numbers there is no doubt the guy can play SOLB in the NFL.
  11. supercowboy8

    supercowboy8 Well-Known Member

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    great ellis was bettr vs the run

    Mercilus plays to high and is bad vs the run. He over runs the RB in the backfield. If you ever seen him play you would notice this.
  12. supercowboy8

    supercowboy8 Well-Known Member

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    He is bad vs the run, You put him at SOLB and RBs will run right by him bacuse he can't get off blocks or he over runs the play.

    Bunting also said Perry was the better player and both are stiff inthe hips.

    "DE Whitney Mercilus and USC’s Nick Perry. Both posted a 1.57 ten-yard split and both looked a bit tight during positional drills. However, I graded Perry out higher because he showcased a better closing burst once he gained a step"


    I want my SOLB to be able to play the run, get off blocks and not play to high. His one year wonder scares me and seeing him vs the run scares me to much to draft him at 14. I don't have a problem drafting him later to develop, but at 14 no way.
  13. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I would go after Vinny Curry before I would Mercilus. No way Mercilus at 14 that is a big time reach.
  14. supercowboy8

    supercowboy8 Well-Known Member

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    Curry is also at 14 I wouldn't do any at 14. Ingram is the only OLB I would get at 14. I would go Decastro, CB, or Cox at 14 before reaching for a development SOLB.
    Mercilus in a trade back to the late 1st is an option but not at 14.
  15. Gaede

    Gaede Well-Known Member

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    Stop reading experts opinions and watch him. He is not bad vs. the run. Sometimes he appears to not know where to go, understandable considering his inexperience. And also an aspect that can be coached.

    But when he knows what to do, he is strong and doesn't just get off blocks--he can destroy them. Physically, he's more impressive than Spencer. And look at the run stopper he became when he got to the pros.
  16. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I would not take Curry at 14 either. I would take Curry over Mercilus. Both of these guys would be a reach at 14. Mercilus was being projected as a 3 to 2nd rd pick and now he is 14? Curry is also seen as a 2nd rd pick.
  17. TheFinisher

    TheFinisher Well-Known Member

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    I've never come away from watching Mercilus thinking he struggles against the run and I'm not really sure why you feel that way or think Perry is some kind of run stuffing monster. Perry disappeared in a lot of games for USC, if you compare film I'd say Mercilus holds a distinct advantage over Perry. Mercilus may be a "1 year wonder", but at least he showed dominance for an entire season. Perry was just a solid player for USC for a couple years, I'd rather take my chances with the guy fresh off an All American season with the arrow pointing way up.
  18. supercowboy8

    supercowboy8 Well-Known Member

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    I never said Perry was a run stopping monster, I don't know where you go that. I don't want Perry either. I think both a 4-3 DEs. When I watched Mercilus he is to fast off the snap in running plays and out runs the play. He lets the RB go by him to much. He plays way to high standing up on the line with bad pad level. He doesn't diagnose the play before he plays. He just burst off the line already decided what he is going to do. i don't like that, you might, we will have to just disagree on this one.
  19. Gaede

    Gaede Well-Known Member

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    That stuff can be taught. Easily. What matters is his extreme physical ability and want-to. Mercilus has that in spades. It was the same thing with Watt and A. Smith and Tyron Smith last year. All three guys were inexperienced but had ridiculous athleticism, potential, good attitude and hustle. With professional coaching, they're on their way to being elite players. I see the same qualities in Mercilus.

    You give me the option between a guy who may have reached his peak already or the guy who is only getting better and I'll take the latter everytime.

    Last year, I wanted Carimi badly. I criticized Smith constantly just to bring my guy up. Well, I've learned from last year that if you want a great player you have to take a great risk.
  20. Chocolate Lab

    Chocolate Lab Run-loving Dino

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    Again, who made Bunting some ultimate authority? The guy went to some three-week seminar to learn to scout. He's not some former actual scout who has judged these things for a living.

    Ryan and the scouts will be able to look at the way he moves in drills in person and see if he can do what he needs to do in coverage, just like Wade did. The guys who have actually coached these type conversion players for years and even decades can tell.

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