Player Page

Whitney Mercilus | Linebacker

Team: Houston Texans
Age / DOB:  (24) / 7/21/1990
Ht / Wt:  6'4' / 258
College: Illinois
Contract: view contract details

Latest News

Recent News

Texans OLB Whitney Mercilus anticipates dropping into coverage more this season.
Mercilus has disappointed as a pass rusher through two NFL seasons, in 2013 grading out as Pro Football Focus' worst outside linebacker in the league. The Texans will turn to Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt as their primary pass rushers this year. "More drops into coverage instead of solely rushing, rushing, rushing," Mercilus said of his role under new DC Romeo Crennel. "Of course I love it. It’s definitely showing my versatility and being instinctive on the field." Thu, Jul 17, 2014 10:13:00 AM

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Player News


Despite posting a respectable seven sacks, Texans OLB Whitney Mercilus graded out as the league's worst 3-4 outside linebacker in 2013 at Pro Football Focus.

That's out of 42 qualifiers. Mercilus managed to pressure the quarterback 51 times, but a closer look at his play shows he has deficiencies as a pass rusher. He'll continue to man the weak side this season with Jadeveon Clowney on the strong side, but Mercilus will need to take a step forward in his third season.
Fri, May 16, 2014 02:50:00 PM

Texans 2012 first-round pick Whitney Mercilus will be the team's starting weak-side outside linebacker in his second year.

It's the primary pass-rushing position in Wade Phillips' defense. Trevardo Williams, Sam Montgomery, and Brooks Reed are competing on the other side. Rather than dropping into coverage, Mercilus' responsibility will be to harass quarterbacks. During his rookie season, Mercilus only made four starts but amassed six sacks and two forced fumbles. He's a breakout candidate.
Mon, May 20, 2013 03:58:00 PM

Texans GM Rick Smith anticipates an "exponential leap" for 2012 first-round pick Whitney Mercilus in year two.

With Connor Barwin a free agent and Brooks Reed potentially moving to inside linebacker, Mercilus is likely to be a starter. "He had 6.5 sacks in limited playtime," said Smith. "But when you look at him production per play, it’s up there. He adds explosiveness, he’s adds pass rush, he adds speed to our defense."
Fri, Feb 22, 2013 12:09:00 PM

Texans first-round pick Whitney Mercilus racked up two sacks in the team's Week 13 win over the Titans.

After opening the year as a reserve behind Brooks Reed (groin surgery), Mercilus is up to five sacks on the season. Mercilus also recovered a fumble against the Titans and could catch fire down the stretch playing behind LE J.J. Watt. Reed is expected to be sidelined for at least the next 2-3 regular season games.
Sun, Dec 2, 2012 09:10:00 PM

Texans DC Wade Phillips sees a similarity in how first-round OLB Whitney Mercilus' "light is coming on" to J.J. Watt's development last season.

"Whitney's earned more (playing) time," Phillips said, "so we're going to play him more." After learning from the sidelines early in the season, the No. 26 overall pick has racked up three sacks and two forced fumbles in the past two games.
Fri, Nov 9, 2012 10:20:00 AM

After watching film of the preseason opener, coach Gary Kubiak says first-round OLB Whitney Mercilus is even better than first believed.

Mercilus' transition from defensive end to outside edge rusher is going smoothly. He racked up three tackles, 1.5 sacks, two hits behind of the line of scrimmage and a quarterback pressure at Carolina. "He's just so fast and so smart," GM Rick Smith said.
Tue, Aug 14, 2012 01:08:00 PM

Texans agreed to terms with OLB Whitney Mercilus, the No. 26 overall pick, on a four-year contract.

The Texans are easing Mercilus in as a special teamer and reserve outside 'backer in OTAs and minicamps, but he'll be a starter sooner rather than later in Houston. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been thrilled with Mercilus so far. Look for him to push Brooks Reed opposite Connor Barwin in August.
Wed, Jun 13, 2012 07:26:00 PM

Coach Gary Kubiak noted that first-round OLB Whitney Mercilus has looked "very good" in OTAs.

Team captain Antonio Smith describes the rookie as "quick" and "explosive." While Mercilus is also getting a lot of work on special teams, the Texans are pleased with early showing on defense. "Remember, (he had) just really one big, big year of college football," said Kubiak, "so watching him make this transition is pretty impressive." Kubiak later added that Mercilus is "even more talented than we thought he'd be."
Fri, May 25, 2012 12:59:00 PM

Texans selected Illinois OLB Whitney Mercilus with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2012 draft.

A natural edge rusher with 4.68 wheels at 6'4" and 261 pounds, Mercilus posted 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles in a breakout season. Though he's a bit raw as a speed rusher with limited moves and trouble against double teams, Mercilus has the explosive first step and closing speed to develop into a force in Wade Phillips' defense. He'll take Mario Williams' place in a three-man rotation with Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed on perhaps the NFL's most talented young defense.
Thu, Apr 26, 2012 10:29:00 PM

Kevin Acee of the Union-Tribune San Diego predicts that the Chargers' pick at No. 18 overall will be Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus.

Acee's prediction for San Diego's 2011 first-round pick was Ryan Kerrigan, so the track record here is hardly foolproof in a total guessing game. Coach Norv Turner does plan to "concentrate on defense" in the draft, and Mercilus would give the Bolts another pass rusher to complement Shaun Phillips, Jarret Johnson, and Antwan Barnes. Acee believes the Bolts want an edge rusher.
Wed, Apr 25, 2012 05:29:00 PM

STATS’ Ice system ranks Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus as the top pass rusher among this year's draft prospects.

The pass rush evaluation system ranks players based on their total sacks, knockdowns, and hurries in 2011. Mercilus' rating in 2011 was 43.5 (16 sacks, 19.5 knockdowns, eight hurries). South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, Clemson DE/OLB Andre Branch, USC DE Nick Perry, and Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw round out the top-five.
Sun, Apr 22, 2012 12:13:00 PM

The Chicago Tribune expects the Bears to select a defensive end with the No. 19 overall draft pick.

Options may include Illinois' Whitney Mercilus, USC's Nick Perry, and Alabama's Courtney Upshaw. Drafting for need was often a theme in the first round of outgoing Bears GM Jerry Angelo's draft-day strategies, though new GM Phil Emery may be less predictable. We wouldn't rule out the Bears pondering Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick if he's available at the No. 19 pick.
Fri, Apr 6, 2012 01:39:00 PM

Lance Zierlein of the Houston Chronicle insists Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus will be drafted in the top-20 picks.

Zierlein is a plugged-in and trusted voice on draft matters, and says he's also heard "rumors" of at least two teams considering trades up to draft Mercilus. Mercilus benefits from the fact that both 3-4 and 4-3 teams like him. It's worth noting that every team in the league sent a representative to the Illinois Pro Day, and Mercilus is their only big-time NFL prospect.
Wed, Apr 4, 2012 02:03:00 PM

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams were present for Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus' Pro Day on Tuesday.

According to draft guru Gil Brandt, Mercilus "looked good" coming off his impressive Combine performance, and "solidified himself as a sure-fire first-round selection." One of the draft's most athletic and productive pass rushers, Mercilus won't last beyond day one.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 08:53:00 PM

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