The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois: Scouting Report, Highlights

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Jonathan Bales

My latest installment of “Scouting the Draft” over at the NY Times features Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus.  You can head here to check out my full scouting report on Mercilus.  Here’s a preview:

At 6-4, 265 pounds, Whitney Mercilus (#85) is in the perfect range to play either defensive end in a 4-3 scheme or outside linebacker in a 3-4. Mercilus spent time rushing from both a traditional three-point stance and from a stand-up position at Illinois.  He is quite quick off the edge and generally takes good angles to the quarterback, keeping his pad level low around the corner.  He uses his hands as well as any rusher I have studied thus far, slapping away blockers’ arms to reach the quarterback (see the 59-second mark in the video below against U.C.L.A.)

Mercilus is a bit tricky to evaluate because he is athletic yet stiff in the hips.  He has the quickness and agility to chase down the quarterback (see the 2:36 mark against U..C.L.A) and side-step blockers (3:43 mark against U.C.L.A.), but he also fails to change direction quickly and looks as if he would struggle in coverage if asked to drop into a zone.  In short, he is athletic in that he is explosive but not overly coordinated.

I actually think Mercilus would be a good fit with the Cowboys.  He’s a raw player with a huge amount of upside, and I think he’d be an upgrade over Anthony Spencer.  The problem is he’s projected to go in the area between Dallas’ first and second-round selections, so he’s probably an option only if he drops out of the first round.  I find that highly unlikely at this point.

Again, head over to the Times to check out the full report, and feel free to comment there or here.

Previous Scouting Reports

Michael Brockers, DT/DE, LSU

Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State

Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

Quinton Coples, DE, UNC

Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida/North Alabama

Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

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3 Responses to Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois: Scouting Report, Highlights

  1. john coleman says:

    What can you say with a name like Mercilus? I like the size of the guy. He’s a DWare clone. He may need to step it up a little in the measurables department. With prototypical size and a break out season last year, he could be poised to be a gamechanger. It will be interesting to see what he does at the combine. I think he has good strength,but we’ll see on the explosion and speed.

    I would like him to be a Cowboy, but not at 14th. In the 2nd not bad, although I’m hoping for Minniefield there.

  2. Scouting report on Minnifield about to be posted, actually.

  3. Tom says:

    I think he’s the most intriguing DE/OLB prospect with 1st rd talent. His stats this year were really impressive, especially when you consider he played against the Big 10 OL’s.

    14.5 sacks (#1 in CFB), 19.5 tkl for loss (#5 in CFB) , and most impressive to me, 9 forced fumbles (#1 in CFB).

    #14 might be a little high, but if the Boys don’t take OL, I wouldn’t be disappointed if they dropped down a little and snagged him. I think he’s going to become an elite pass rusher in time. Just not sure if he could make the switch to OLB in a 3-4. Hope to see him perform well at the combine and hear what all the experts think.

    Definitely on my short list of 1st rd players the Cowboys should consider.

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