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CloakNNNdagger
06-20-2012, 08:56 AM
This is a cross that Mercilus will have to bear until he shows that he can unleash on the NFL level.

Illinois DL coach: “No way” Mercilus is a one-year wonder

Posted Jun 18, 2012
By Nick Scurfield


Leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft, one of the biggest questions about Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus was whether he was a one-year wonder.

Mercilus led the NCAA with 16 sacks as a junior last season, earning first-team All-America honors en route to becoming the Texans’ first-round draft pick. It came seemingly out of nowhere after he redshirted as a freshman in 2008 and was a reserve player for the next two seasons, recording 24 total tackles and two sacks in 24 games.

“Whitney had him in it all along,” Illinois defensive line coach Keith Gilmore said on Friday. “He may not have been a starter, but he was a big-time contributor to our program. He played a lot of snaps, and actually, he probably played more than the kid that was a starter. The kid that was in front of him was a senior, and Whitney being the team player that he was kind of understood that situation and waited his time and made the most of it when he got his opportunity.”

Gilmore, a 27-year college coaching veteran who tutored Mercilus from 2009-11, readily dismissed the notion that Mercilus could be a one-year wonder.

“I say no way,” Gilmore said. “I know the kid. I’ve coached him for three years. Like I said, he’s been a solid football player in this program throughout. In the years previous, he played more on first and second down, and the kid who we had in front of him was more of a pass rusher. To get the most of our football team, that was the way we just decided to play ‘em. He was a productive player all along for us. It wasn’t a one year deal. This has been a three-year deal in the making.”

Mercilus played in 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2009, recording eight tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He played in 13 games with two starts as a redshirt sophomore, recording 16 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, one sack, two hurries, two forced fumbles and one pass breakup.

As a redshirt junior, Mercilus moved into the starting lineup and recorded 57 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, nine forced fumbles, six quarterback hurries, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery. He was a team MVP and captain, a consensus first-team All-American and the Ted Hendricks Award winner as the top defensive end in the nation.

“You never realize it during the course of a season how good a kid is, then when you go back and reflect and you look at the tape from the previous year, you realize what a dominant force he was,” Gilmore said. “He made a big play or two for us every game, and it really helped us this season.

“The biggest thing is that he’s a high-motor kid. He’s a relentless pass rusher. Some of his sacks he got may have not been pretty, but just due to his passion to get after the passer resulted in some production for us. He moved around the line of scrimmage for us. He was a team player. We put him down inside at the tackle spot in some passer situations, and he responded. But the biggest thing is that he’s a relentless pass rusher and he’s got great power in his lower body.”

Mercilus, 21, credits his meteoric rise in production last season to hard work off the field.

“It was more of grasping a way to study the game differently,” he said. “I studied myself, making sure that my weaknesses become my strengths on the field. Watching my opponent closely, watching film, breaking down offenses and things like that – what they tend to like to do, what type of personnel, what situations and things like that. I feel like just studying the game a lot more really helped my game.”

Gilmore says Mercilus got his work ethic from his parents, Wilner and Yvrose, who immigrated to the United States from Haiti in the 1980s.

“They didn’t come from a whole lot, but they understood the value of an education and being hard workers,” Gilmore said. “They shared that with him, and he carried it over to everything he did.

“He’s a guy that’s first in line. He’s the first at weight training; he’s the first out on the field at practice. All those things carry over into performance and production. He’s a kid that you can count on.”

The Texans are counting on Mercilus to give them another pass rusher to complement Connor Barwin, who Gilmore incidentally coached at Cincinnati in 2008, and Brooks Reed. Mercilus said he has made a smooth transition from defensive end to outside linebacker so far this offseason, and he plans to stay in Houston to train until training camp begins in late July.

“Everybody wonders, am I just a one-year wonder?” Mercilus said. “I say no. In my mind, I think once you have it, you have it. There’s no way that you can regress from that. You stay on the same path from what you’ve always done that year, and you will come out successful.

“This upcoming season, my goals are to get as many sacks as I can – contribute a lot for this team and hopefully make a name for myself in this first year, and prove to everyone why I’m not a one-year wonder.”

Dutchrudder
06-20-2012, 01:48 PM
http://i465.photobucket.com/albums/rr14/themishkin/Sports/wadephillips.jpg

In Wade We Trust!

GP
06-20-2012, 05:23 PM
“The biggest thing is that he’s a high-motor kid. He’s a relentless pass rusher. Some of his sacks he got may have not been pretty, but just due to his passion to get after the passer resulted in some production for us. He moved around the line of scrimmage for us. He was a team player. We put him down inside at the tackle spot in some passer situations, and he responded. But the biggest thing is that he’s a relentless pass rusher and he’s got great power in his lower body.”

This is why I say that Mercilus is possibly a contingency plan for IF Antonio Smith has to walk due to salary and/or cap space issues.

Folks, this Mercilus kid is every bit as athletic and driven as JJ Watt is.

When the coach says they put him down in the tackle spot...then that says they know he can play there if needed.

I don't think Wade wants him there. He wants him at LB. But it's a bonus that we have a guy who can play on the line or behind it. Period.

The Medic01
06-20-2012, 05:30 PM
This is why I say that Mercilus is possibly a contingency plan for IF Antonio Smith has to walk due to salary and/or cap space issues.

Folks, this Mercilus kid is every bit as athletic and driven as JJ Watt is.

When the coach says they put him down in the tackle spot...then that says they know he can play there if needed.

I don't think Wade wants him there. He wants him at LB. But it's a bonus that we have a guy who can play on the line or behind it. Period.

I think Jared Crick if he plays well in his limited time this year will be Antonio's replacement. I think Mercilus was drafted for rotational/depth purposes this year and if necessary to replace Barwin if he is allowed to walk next year.

Dutchrudder
06-20-2012, 05:41 PM
I think Jared Crick if he plays well in his limited time this year will be Antonio's replacement. I think Mercilus was drafted for rotational/depth purposes this year and if necessary to replace Barwin if he is allowed to walk next year.

I agree. We have 3 important guys with expiring contracts in Brown, Schaub and Barwin. I think we can only re-sign 2 of them, and it seems that Barwin will be the odd man out. Mercilus will hopefully be able to replace him in 2013.

The Medic01
06-20-2012, 05:45 PM
I agree. We have 3 important guys with expiring contracts in Brown, Schaub and Barwin. I think we can only re-sign 2 of them, and it seems that Barwin will be the odd man out. Mercilus will hopefully be able to replace him in 2013.

Too bad they are at three premier positions. LT QB and pass rusher. I really think we might be drafting another pass rusher next year in the first round if we lose Barwin.

TimeKiller
06-20-2012, 06:04 PM
If Crick replaces Smith by next year, I'll replace Vince McMahon as the most stunned person of all times. I'm a Crick fan too but that's some :koolaid: talk.

If nothing else, why wouldn't they at least try to trade Smith and get something back instead of letting him walk for nothing?

The Medic01
06-20-2012, 06:13 PM
If Crick replaces Smith by next year, I'll replace Vince McMahon as the most stunned person of all times. I'm a Crick fan too but that's some :koolaid: talk.

If nothing else, why wouldn't they at least try to trade Smith and get something back instead of letting him walk for nothing?

Not really. He was a projected second rounder before his injury so it's not unlikely he could perform well enough to replace Antonio.

infantrycak
06-20-2012, 08:35 PM
This is why I say that Mercilus is possibly a contingency plan for IF Antonio Smith has to walk due to salary and/or cap space issues.

He would get killed playing 3-4 DE on a regular basis.

When the coach says they put him down in the tackle spot...then that says they know he can play there if needed.

It was college and again it was situational.

GP
06-21-2012, 05:33 AM
I think Jared Crick if he plays well in his limited time this year will be Antonio's replacement. I think Mercilus was drafted for rotational/depth purposes this year and if necessary to replace Barwin if he is allowed to walk next year.

Most definitely.

But it's good to know Mercilus The Destroyer has played some DT and the coaches didn't flinch in putting him there from time to time.

His bread is buttered on the LB side, though. No doubt.

badboy
06-21-2012, 11:43 AM
Too bad they are at three premier positions. LT QB and pass rusher. I really think we might be drafting another pass rusher next year in the first round if we lose Barwin.I mocked 2013 with a 3rd going for OLB Devin Taylor South Carolina 6'7" 267
http://www.gamecocksonline.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/taylor_devin00.html


I do think Mercilus will be a one hit wonder. He will hit the QB one time and the QB will wonder where his momma is.

Playoffs
06-21-2012, 12:11 PM
I do think Mercilus will be a one hit wonder. He will hit the QB one time and the QB will wonder where his momma is.

http://instantrimshot.com/index.php?sound=rimshot&play=true

The Cush
06-21-2012, 12:46 PM
He would get killed playing 3-4 DE on a regular basis.

It was college and again it was situational.

My thoughts exactly. Illinois ran a 4-3 I believe, you can get away with putting smaller guys at the tackle in that scheme. Mercilus is around 260 while Jared Crick is around 280 (going off wikipedia here). Kubiak said in an interview during OTA's that Crick needed to get bigger and he definitely will be playing a lot of 3-4 end and maybe some nose. If Whitney is going to play Antonio's spot he's going to have to get wayy bigger. I think he's perfect at OLB

thunderkyss
06-24-2012, 09:34 AM
This is why I say that Mercilus is possibly a contingency plan for IF Antonio Smith has to walk due to salary and/or cap space issues.


This guy is too small to play inside in the NFL. He can get away with it in college, but not in the NFL. He'd have to put on 30 lbs of muscle just to get into the conversation.

Besides, we've got Antonio Smith replacements in training already. Tim Jamison has been coming on the last couple of years & now Jared Crick looks promising.

Rey
06-24-2012, 11:06 AM
This guy is too small to play inside in the NFL. He can get away with it in college, but not in the NFL. He'd have to put on 30 lbs of muscle just to get into the conversation.

Besides, we've got Antonio Smith replacements in training already. Tim Jamison has been coming on the last couple of years & now Jared Crick looks promising.

Tim Jamison.

Glad you mentioned him because I think people are sleeping on him as a possible Antonio replacement down the line if we even look to replace Antonio. A lot of people looking at crick and saying he is key, but I think Jamison is at least in the discussion.

Regarding merci, I want to see him more than any other rookie. I was not blown away with his college film so I'm anxious to see him in person and with this group of guys.