Mercilus with the Houston Texans in 2012
|No. 59 – Houston Texans|
|Born:||July 21, 1990|
|Height:||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight:||258 lb (117 kg)|
|High school:||Akron (OH) Garfield|
|NFL Draft:||2012 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2019|
Whitney Mercilus (born July 21, 1990) is an American football outside linebacker for the Houston Texans of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Illinois and was recognized as a unanimous All-American. He was selected by the Texans in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and was considered one of the best defensive end prospects for 2012.
Mercilus is of Haitian descent, and was born in Akron, Ohio. He attended Garfield High School in Akron, where he played high school football for the Garfield High School Rams. He was considered a three-star defensive end prospect by the Rivals.com recruiting service.
Mercilus attended the University of Illinois, where he played for head coach Ron Zook's Illinois Fighting Illini football team from 2009 to 2011. He broke out during his junior season in 2011, leading the country in quarterback sacks (16) and forced fumbles (9) while primarily playing at the defensive end position. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, Mercilus was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media. He won the 2011 Ted Hendricks Award, 2011 Bill Willis Award, and 2011 CFPA Defensive Performer of the Year, in addition to being recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American.
On January 3, 2012, Mercilus announced his decision to forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2012 NFL Draft. He attended the NFL Scouting Combine and completed all of the combine drills. Mercilus finished with the fourth fastest time among all defensive ends in the 40-yard dash. On March 6, 2012, Mercilus attended Illinois’ pro day, but opted to stand on the majority of his combine numbers. He performed positional drills and improved his time in the short shuttle (4.47s) and three-cone drill (7.03s). Whitney attended Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Dallas Cowboys. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Mercilus was projected to be a first round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked as the third best defensive end prospect in the draft by DraftScout.com and was ranked the third best outside linebacker by NFL analyst Mike Mayock.
|Height||Weight||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP|
|6 ft 3 5⁄8 in
|33 7⁄8 in
|9 1⁄4 in
|4.68 s||1.58 s||2.69 s||4.53 s||7.17 s||32 in
|9 ft 10 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
The Houston Texans selected Mercilus in the first round (26th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft. Mercilus was the fifth defensive end drafted in 2012. He was the highest selected Illinois defensive lineman since Simeon Rice was drafted third overall by the Arizona Cardinals in 1996. Immediately after the draft, Texans’ defensive coordinator Wade Phillips stated that Mercilus would be moved to outside linebacker.
|Texans draft Whitney Mercilus 26th overall|
2012 season: Rookie year
Throughout training camp, Mercilus competed to be a starting outside linebacker against Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed after the role was left vacant by the departure of Mario Williams. Head coach Gary Kubiak named Mercilus a backup outside linebacker to start the regular season, behind Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed.
Mercilus made his NFL debut in the season-opening 30–10 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Through the first six games of the season, he mostly saw work on special teams. During Week 7, Mercilus recorded three combined tackles, broke up a pass, and made his first NFL sack during a 43–13 win against the Baltimore Ravens. Mercilus recorded his first sack for a four-yard loss on Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco and forced a fumble that was recovered by Ravens’ center Matt Birk during the first quarter. In Week 12, he collected a season-high four solo tackles during a 34–31 victory at the Detroit Lions. On December 2, 2012, Mercilus earned his first career start after Brooks Reed suffered a groin injury. Mercilus finished the Texans’ 24–10 victory at the Tennessee Titans with two solo tackles and made a season-high two sacks on Titans’ quarterback Jake Locker. He finished his rookie season in 2012 with 25 combined tackles (20 solo), six sacks, and one pass deflection in 16 games and four starts.
The Texans finished atop the AFC South with a 12–4 record and earned a playoff berth. On January 5, 2013, Mercilus appeared in his first NFL playoff game as the Texans defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 19–13 in the AFC Wildcard Game. The following week, the Texans were eliminated from the playoffs after a 41–28 loss at the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round.
Mercilus entered training camp slated as a starting outside linebacker after Connor Barwin departed in free agency. Head coach Gary Kubiak named Mercilus and Brooks Reed the starting outside linebackers to begin the regular season. They started alongside inside linebackers Brian Cushing and Joe Mays.
Mercilus started in the season-opener at the San Diego Chargers and recorded five solo tackles and one sack during a 31–28 victory. In Week 4, he collected six combined tackles and recorded a season-high 2.5 sacks as the Texans lost to the Seattle Seahawks 23–20. During Week 12, Mercilus collected a season-high six solo tackles during a 13–6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. On December 6, 2013, the Houston Texans fired head coach Gary Kubiak after they fell to a 2–11 record. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was named the interim head coach for the rest of the season.
Mercilus started in all 16 games in 2013 and recorded 47 combined tackles (33 solo) and seven sacks.
On January 3, 2014, the Houston Texans hired Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel retained Mercilus as a starting outside linebacker. Mercilus started alongside Jadeveon Clowney and inside linebackers Brian Cushing and Jeff Tarpinian. On November 1, 2014, Mercilus collected a season-high nine combined tackles and made two sacks during a 31-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He was inactive for the Texans’ Week 15 loss at the Tennessee Titans due to a back injury.
Mercilus finished the 2014 season with 50 combined tackles (31 solo) and five sacks in 15 games and 13 starts.
On May 4, 2015, the Houston Texans signed Mercilus to a four-year, $26 million contract extension with $10.68 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $5.25 million. He entered training camp slated as a starting outside linebacker, but saw some minor competition from John Simon after he impressed coaches while filling in for Jadeveon Clowney during camp. Head coach Bill O’Brien retained Mercilus and Clowney as the starting outside linebackers to begin the regular season in 2015.
During Week 8, Mercilus collected a season-high seven combined tackles and recorded 3.5 sacks as the Texans earned a 20–6 victory against the Tennessee Titans. In Week 17, Mercilus recorded five combined tackles and tied his season-high of 3.5 sacks during a 30–6 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mercilus finished the 2015 NFL season with 52 combined tackles (32 solo), a career-high 12 sacks, and two pass deflections in 16 games and ten starts.
The Houston Texans finished atop the AFC South with a 9–7 record and earned a wildcard berth. On January 9, 2016, Mercilus started his first NFL playoff game and recorded eight combined tackles and made three sacks on Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith during a 30–0 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wildcard Game.
Mercilus entered training camp slated as a starting outside linebacker. Head coach Bill O’Brien named Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney the starting outside linebackers to begin the season, alongside Brian Cushing and Benardrick McKinney.
Mercilus started in the season-opener against the Chicago Bears and recorded four combined tackles and made a season-high two sacks during a 23–14 victory. In Week 4, he collected a season-high seven combined tackles during a 27–20 victory against the Tennessee Titans. Mercilus was inactive for the Texans’ Week 15 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars after aggravating a back injury. Mercilus finished the 2016 season with 53 combined tackles (36 solo), 7.5 sacks, and a pass deflection in 15 games and 15 starts. Mercilus was awarded Second-Team All-Pro 2016 in recognition of his successful 2016 season.
The Houston Texans finished atop the AFC South with a 9–7 record. On January 7, 2017, Mercilus recorded seven combined tackles and made two sacks on Raiders' quarterback Connor Cook as the Texans defeated the Oakland Raiders 27–14 in the AFC Wildcard Game. The following week, he made four combined tackles and one sack during the Texans' 34–16 loss at the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round.
Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel retained Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney as the starting outside linebackers in 2017. They started alongside Benardrick McKinney and Brian Cushing. On October 8, 2017, Mercilus suffered a torn pectoral during a 42–34 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football in a Week 5. On October 11, 2017, the Texans officially placed him on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
Mercilus finished the season with 10 combined tackles (nine solo), one sack, and a forced fumble in five games and five starts.
After missing the majority of the previous season due to injury, Mercilus finished the 2018 season with 39 tackles, four sacks, and two forced fumbles.
In the season-opener against the New Orleans Saints, Mercilus sacked and intercepted Drew Brees in the narrow 30–28 road loss. During Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mercilus sacked Gardner Minshew twice and recorded two forced fumbles as the Texans narrowly won 13–12, earning him AFC Defensive Player of the Week. During Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Mercilus forced Philip Rivers to fumble the football once as the Texans won on the road by a score of 27–20. During Week 7 against the Indianapolis Colts, he recovered a fumble by quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the 30–23 road loss. During Week 15 against the Tennessee Titans, Mercilus intercepted a pass thrown by Ryan Tannehill and returned it for 86 yards during a 24–21 victory. In the next game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he sacked Jameis Winston twice during the 23–20 road victory.
On December 28, 2019, the Houston Texans signed Mercilus to a four-year, $53.5 million contract extension with $28.5 million guaranteed. In the AFC Wild Card game against the Buffalo Bills, Mercilus recorded a strip sack on quarterback Josh Allen which was recovered by teammate Jacob Martin during the 22–19 overtime win. 
- NFL Draft Scout
- "NFL draft: Texans take Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus at No. 26". Retrieved March 10, 2014.
- Rivals.com Recruiting Profile
- NCAA Division I-A Player Defense Statistics - 2011
- "Complete All-Big Ten football teams". Detroit Free Press. November 29, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Whitney Mercilus to enter NFL draft". dailyillini.com. January 3, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- Huff, Ryan (May 21, 2012). "Houston Texans: 5 Rookies to Watch in Training Camp". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- Galliford, Brian (April 18, 2012). "2012 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills Pre-Draft Visitors (Full List)". buffalorumblings.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- Goldberg, Rob (March 27, 2012). "NFL Draft Rumors: What We Can Learn from Each Team's Prospect Visits". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- Mike Mayock. "Mike Mayock's top 100 NFL draft prospect rankings". NFL.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "Whitney Mercilus Combine Profile", NFL.com, retrieved March 26, 2012
- Illinois Whitney Mercilus shooting up draft boards
- "NFL Draft coming into focus". Fox News. March 6, 2012.
- "Texans take DE Mercilus at No. 26". NFL.com. April 27, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "Who Is Whitney Mercilus And What Does He Bring To The Houston Texans?". battleredblog.com. April 27, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "Texans Whitney Mercilus cintract update".
- "Spotrac.com: Whitney Mercilus contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "Houston Texans: Grading the Draft". houston.sbnation.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "Ourlads.com: Houston Texans Depth Chart: 09/01/2012". Ourlads.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans - October 27th, 2012". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- Maids, Jeremy (November 23, 2012). "Brooks Reed injury: Starting LB out at least a month with groin injury". houston.sbnation.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "NFL Player stats: Whitney Mercilus (2012)". NFL.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "NFL Player stats: Whitney Mercilus (Career)". NFL.com. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "Ourlads.com: Houston Texans Depth Chart: 09/05/2013". Ourlads.com. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "NFL Player stats: Whitney Mercilus (2013)". NFL.com. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "Gary Kubiak fires by Texans". ESPN.com. December 6, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "Sources: Texans to hire Bill O'Brien". ESPN.com. January 3, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "2014 Houston Texans 53-Man Roster Set; Roster Cut From 75 To 53". attleEedBlog.com. August 30, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "Houston Texans Injury Report: Whitney Mercilus Unlikely To Play Versus Colts, Andre Johnson Questionable". battleredblog.com. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "Colts vs Texans Injury Report: Reitz, Thornton Out Sunday". horseshoeheroes.com. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- Rosenthal, Gregg (May 4, 2015). "Texans reward Whitney Mercilus with $26M extension". NFL.com. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
- McClain, John (June 22, 2015). "Texans linebacker John Simon impresses J.J. Watt". Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "Ourlads.com: Houston Texans Depth Chart: 10/01/2015". Ourlads.com. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- "NFL Player stats: Whitney Mercilus (2015)". NFL.com. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
- "Ourlads.com: Houston Texans Depth Chart: 09/01/2016". Ourlads.com. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
- "NFL Player stats: Whitney Mercilus (2016)". NFL.com. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
- "Houston Texans Injury News: Whitney Mercilus Out For Jaguars Game". battleredblog.com. December 18, 2016. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
- "Whitney Mercilus: Game Logs". NFL.com. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
- "2017 Houston Texans Roster Cuts Summary: Here's The First 53-Man Roster Of The Season". battleredblog.com. September 3, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
- Bergman, Jeremy (October 9, 2017). "Whitney Mercilus out for season with torn pectoral". NFL.com.
- "TRANSACTIONS: Texans place Watt, Mercilus on IR". HoustonTexans.com. October 11, 2017.
- "Lutz's 58-yard field goal lifts Saints over Texans, 30-28". www.espn.com. September 9, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
- "Texans stop Jags' 2-point conversion to get 13-12 win". www.espn.com. September 15, 2019. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
- "Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson among Players of the Week". NFL.com. September 18, 2019.
- "Watson, Watt lead way as Texans outlast Chargers, 27-20". www.espn.com. September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- "Colts take AFC South lead with 30-23 victory over Texans". www.espn.com. October 20, 2019. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
- "Texans take control of AFC South by beating Titans 24-21". www.espn.com. December 15, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- "Texans win AFC South title with victory over Bucs". www.espn.com. Associated Press. December 21, 2019. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
- Wilson, Aaron (December 28, 2019). "Texans hammer out 4-year, $54 million deal with Whitney Mercilus". Chron.com. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
- "Texans roar past Bills for 22-19 win in OT". www.espn.com. Associated Press. January 4, 2020. Retrieved January 4, 2020.