Tennessee Titans Draft Profile: DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois


Here it is. Our third draft profile of the year. I’ve chose to look at the defensive end from Illinois, Whitney Mercilus (Mercy-less). Mercilus is considered a “one year wonder”, as he only recently burst on to the college scene after three years.

Many compare him to another recent “one year wonder” who was taken in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft: Jason Pierre-Paul. We’ve all noticed how that has turned out for the New York Giants after they took him just one pick before the Titans.

The Titans were second to last in the league in terms of sacks and will be looking to add someone who’ll turn that number around, whether they do it via the draft or free agency. The draft has a lot of defensive end prospects. For this specific post, I’d like to focus on Mercilus, as his name has been thrown around a lot in mock drafts and other sites as a possible selection by the Titans with their first pick in the 2012 draft.

Last year the 6-4, 265 pound Mercilus wasn’t even on the radar. This year, he may very well be a first round pick.

Pros: Mercilus is an athletic beast. When his stats are compared to the college stats of Jason Pierre-Paul, Mercilus wins. Mercilus recorded seven more forced fumbles, one more fumble recovered and over three times as many sacks. He makes good use of his big arms to shed blocks. When he gets off his blockers and goes to hit the QB, his eyes are always looking for the ball to make the hit and force the fumble, which means he often forces the fumble when he gets to the QB. He played against talented teams, such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, so his stats carry a little more weight because of that. He has a good motor, always playing to the whistle and trying to get to the ball. His coach noted that he was a leader for not only the defensive line, but the entire defense. Mercilus has a nice set of moves to break off blockers and doesn’t get pushed back against run blockers. Reminds me of Dwight Freeney when I watch tape on him. Athletic enough that he could probably be used to drop back in the coverage like the Titans sometimes asked their DE’s to do this year.

Cons: He’s not great against the run and will need to learn to do a better job of sealing up his edge. He seems to be a little stiff in the hips. There’s not much tape on him, as he’s only had one real year as a starter, so there’s not much tape to analyze. He doesn’t have a lot of room to put on additional weight if you want him to bulk up. His frame is already pretty full.

Highlight Videos

AWARDS & HONORS (as of Nov. 21, 2011) (Via: FightingIllini.com)
• Bronko Nagurski Trophy Finalist
• Bednarik, Lombardi and Hendricks Award Semifinalist
• Leads the nation in sacks (13.5), sacks per game (1.23) and forced fumbles (8) in 2011 (through games of Nov. 19)
• His 8 forced fumbles this season ties the Big Ten record and ranks second in the NCAA record books
• First Team Midseason All-American (Phil Steele)
• First Team Midseason All-Big Ten (Phil Steele)
• CFPA National Defensive Lineman of the Week (10/10)

Via: Wikipeida

                                                  TACKLES            SOLO          SACKS          FF            PD        FR 

2008         ———————————————-Redshirted———————————————–

2009                                              8                             4                     3.5                0           0            0

2010                                            16                             8                      3                  2           1            0

2011                                             57                           28                  22.5               9           2            1

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