Whitney Mercilus

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Whitney Mercilus
Whitney Mercilus
Mercilus in the 2012 NFL season.
No. 59 Houston Texans
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1990-07-21) July 21, 1990 (age 26)
Place of birth: Akron, Ohio
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight: 258 lb (117 kg)
Career information
High school: Akron (OH) Garfield
College: Illinois
NFL draft: 2012 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2015
Tackles: 174
Quarterback sacks: 30.0
Forced fumbles: 4
Interceptions: 0
Player stats at NFL.com

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.[1]

Early years[edit]

Whitney Mercilus is of Haitian descent,[2] and was born in Akron, Ohio. He attended Garfield High School in Akron, where he played high school football for the Garfield Rams. He was considered a three-star defensive end prospect by Rivals.com.[3]

College career[edit]

Mercilus attended the University of Illinois, where he played for 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 defensive end.[4] At the conclusion of the 2011 season, Mercilus was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media.[5] 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.[6]

Professional career[edit]

2012 NFL Draft[edit]

Mercilus entered the 2012 NFL Draft where he was a first round draft pick by the Houston Texans with the 26th overall pick.[7][8] He was the highest selected Illinois defensive lineman since Simeon Rice in 1996. Mercilus transitioned into a 3–4 outside linebacker for defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 3⅝ in 261 lb 33 ⅞ in 9 ¼ in 4.68 s 1.58 s 2.69 s 4.53 s 7.17 s 32 in 9 ft 10 in 27 reps
All values from NFL Combine[9]

2012 season[edit]

On June 14, 2012, Mercilus and the Texans agreed to a four-year, $7.634 million contract with a team option for a fifth year.[10]

Through the first six games of the season, Mercilus mostly saw work on special teams. In week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens, Mercilus was used more on defense in a rotation with starting outside linebackers Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed. In the game, Mercilus recorded his first career sack against Joe Flacco, also forcing a fumble on the play. He also tipped a pass leading to an interception.

Mercilus made his first career start in place of an injured Brooks Reed in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans. Mercilus sacked quarterback Jake Locker twice in the game.

2013 season[edit]

For the entire season Mercilus had 47 tackles, 7 sacks, 18 quarterback hits and 2 stuffs. Houston's defensive DVOA dropped from -14.2% (4th) to 2.9% (18th). Their pass defense DVOA went from -12.4% (4th) to 15.9% (24th) and their sack rate fell from 7.3% (6th) to 6.7% (18th). The defense went from great to mediocre in the span of one year. It was a season to forget as they lost 14 games in a row and finished last only to select first in the upcoming draft. The season ended with the coaching staff fired and the team left in a daze.

2014 season[edit]

While Mercilus' production regressed under new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's system, he still managed to get make a name for himself in Houston Texans franchise history. With his first sack of the season, in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Mercilus surpassed Kailee Wong to move into fifth place on the franchise’s all-time sacks list. "I really can't say enough about Whitney Mercilus," head coach Bill O'Brien said after the game. "I mean, he practices every snap in practice. He takes some scout team reps because we were a little bit thin at linebacker. Then, he goes in the game and he's played better and better every game. He's a great guy, a really good teammate, a hardworking guy. He's just played really well for us this year and I think that was what I saw out there from the sideline." Mercilus ended the season with 31 combined tackles and 5 sacks.

2015 season[edit]

On May 4, 2015, Mercilus signed a four-year, $26 million contract extension with $10.5 million guaranteed.[11] Mercilus helped the Texans win an unexpected AFC South division title by setting career highs in tackles with 52 and sacks with twelve and a half.


External links[edit]