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Illinois - Fighting Illini


Whitney Mercilus

Whitney Mercilus - #85 - OLB-DE

Height: 6-3 5/8
Weight: 261
Speed: 4.66
Arm: 33 7/8
Hand: 9 1/4
Wingspan: 78 7/8
Birthdate: 07/21/1990
Hometown: Akron, OH
Grade: 5.75

PROSPECT MEASURABLES

Event Ht Wt Hand Arm Wing Wonderlic 40 yard BP BJ VJ 20s 60s 3 Cn
03/06/2012 Illinois Pro Day 6-3 7/8 254 9 1/4 33 1/8 79 3/8 4.47 7.03
02/29/2012 Combine 6-3 5/8 261 9 1/4 33 7/8 78 7/8 4.68 27 9'10" 32 4.56 7.19

 

Notes:

Last name is pronounced “MER-sil-us.” Parents are originally from Haiti. Played defensive end and tight end as an Ohio prep. Redshirted in 2008. Saw action in 11 contests in ’09, recording eight tackles, 3 1⁄2 tackles for loss and one sack. Posted 16-3-1 with one pass batted down and two forced fumbles in 13 games in ’10, making starts at defensive end against Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois. Broke out in ’11, winning the  Hendricks Award (nation’s top DE) after leading the nation in sacks and forced fumbles and the Big Ten in tackles for loss — racked up 57-22 1⁄2-16 with one pass batted down and nine forced fumbles in 13 starts. Team captain. Lost the tip of his left index finger in a weightlifting accident (plays with a splint).

Positives:

Athletic physique. Good initial quickness off the snap. Light on his feet and generally plays with balance. Terrific athletic ability. Moves very well in a straight line. Opens up his stride in chase mode and closes fast. Can slither into gaps and string plays out. Able to extend his arms and create room to work. Flashes power potential. Knows the way home — outstanding sack and forced fumble production. Consistent second-effort production. Versatile — rushed from the inside and outside. Motivated. Well-liked and respected by teammates.

Negatives:

Lacks bulk (thin calves and ankles). Average length, weight-room strength and physicality. Rises off the snap and plays too upright. Unsophisticated, vanilla rush plan/repertoire. Unrefined hand use. Shows some hip and shoulder stiffness at the top of his rush. Does not change direction sharply or suddenly. Can be run at — not enough resistance (limited base strength). Catches contact, stays blocked and gets washed. Crude eyes and instincts — fooled by backfield action and does not feel pressure or sense screen. Not a square-up, form tackler (slips off some). Motor runs hot and cold — disappears for stretches. Only a one-year producer.

Summary:

From a developmental standpoint, could have used another year of seasoning, but leapt into the draft while on his production-fueled ascent in order to support his hardworking, immigrant parents. 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. Could be overdrafted.


Whitney Mercilus's Draft Stock

PFW Grade Scale
GradeRound
7.01-9.00Top 10
6.01-7.001
6.001-2
5.61-5.992
5.602-3
5.41-5.593
5.403-4
5.31-5.394
5.304-5
5.21-5.295
5.205-6
5.16-5.196
5.156-7
5.11-5.147
5.107-PFA
4.75-5.09PFA
4.00-4.74FA

*PFW Grade indicates the value PFW assigned to prospects.

*Draft Projection indicates where players are more likely to be drafted and reflects the consensus opinion from the NFL scouting community.


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