Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois: Scouting Report and Game Film

Jonathan Bales@thecowboystimesAnalyst IFebruary 22, 2012

CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 15:  Whitney Mercilus #85 of the Illinois Fighting Illini rushes against Jack Mewhort #74 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Illinois 17-7.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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