The Texans announced Wednesday that they had come to terms on a contract with OLB Whitney Mercilus, their first-round pick.
Mercilus (6-4, 254) recorded 16 sacks in 2011 for Illinois, best among all NCAA FBS players. He played defensive end for the Fighting Illini.
Mercilus is a "very raw, straight-linish, speed/effort pass rusher who might have to be used in specialty role initially before he is ready to handle three-down responsibility," personnel analyst Nolan Nawrocki wrote in PFW's 2012 Draft Preview.
"He’s doing good," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said of Mercilus on Wednesday, according to the club. "He’s doing a lot, trying to learn special teams and handling his job outside. So he has a lot on his plate right now. He has a lot of ability and should be able to help us a lot.”