Whitney Mercilus   DE   Illinois 

TALENT BOARD

 Round 3


STRENGTHS

Whitney has excellent size and good quickness and speed to play in multiple positions in different styles of defense.  He has good change of direction skills and those long arms and legs that make it easy to get offensive tackles off balance on the snap of the ball and disengage from blockers and make tackles.  Whitney has the body type to add more bulk without it effecting his athletic talent.  He works right now as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense, but looks to have the athleticism to be used as a outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.  Whitney has the size and workout numbers to be considered the type of player who might have tremendous upside to his game to become an impact player at the next level.  He does an excellent job of making tackles behind the line of scrimmage when a play breaks down.  In fact, most of his stats come from effort and running plays down.  

 

CONCERNS

Right now Whitney struggles to get off blocks and is easily blocked by tight ends and running backs when he rushes the passer.  His techniques against both the run and pass are very immature.  His overall game is based on running QB's down from behind on broken plays and causing fumbles and sacks. Whitney also lacks the instincts and football intelligence of his position.  He gives good effort on every play, but is hesitant off the line of scrimmage and, in general, looks like a player who thinks too much and doesn't let it all hang out to make plays.

 

BOTTOM LINE

Whitney reminds me a lot of Calvin Pace (LB/DE, NY Jets), who was the 18th pick in the 2003 draft by the Arizona Cardinals.  Calvin is a solid player who does a good job, but is not the pass rushing OLB that everyone thought he would be.  Then, when he was a free agent, the Cardinals felt no need to re-sign him.  Calvin has made a lot of money and has had a good career, but never really lived up to expectations as an impact player and a player who would be a standout for the Cardinals.  Whitney looks to me like a clone of Calvin and I'm sure his work outs will be very good.  Unfortunately, if you turn on the film, you will see a player waiting to make a plays and being blocked by smaller and less athletic players.  When a play breaks down, Whitney shines, but for me that is not enough.  He has to show me some pass rushing moves and solid tackles while he is in front of a player and not after a player has passed him on the field.  This kid is not ready for the big time and should have stayed in for another year.  If you draft him too early and expect him to impact, I think that will be a big mistake.  If you draft him later in the draft and give him time to develop, he just might turn into a player about as good as Calvin Pace -- a good solid player, but not an impact player.  

 The BS Detector 

 Drew Boylhart   Jan /12