Chargers Interested In Illinois DE/LB Whitney Mercilus

By Ernie Padaon

Dec 31, 2011; San Francisco CA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Whitney Mercilus (85) during a play after losing his helmet against the UCLA Bruins during the second quarter at AT

Whitney Mercilus has the label of one-year wonder on him. He led the NCAA with 16 sacks and forced 9 fumbles last season. He is one of the guys that the Chargers have their eyes on:

Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus says Chargers are one of teams that have shown interest in him at Combine.

— Christopher Smith (@SDchargersdude) February 25, 2012

Could we draft a guy out of Illinois in the first round 2 seasons in a row? Last season, we spent our first round draft pick on Corey Liuget and this season Mercilus is on our radar. He is having a big combine and should be catching the eyes of the Chargers

#Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus’ two unofficial 40s were 4.65, 4.63. Also explosive 10-yard splits. Having big Combine.

— Evan Silva (@evansilva) February 27, 2012

Here is the scouting report on Mercilus from Pro Football Weekly:


• Outstanding athlete• Good second-effort production — hustles and works to the ball• Great closing burst• Versatile — rushes from inside, outside• Nation’s leader in sacks, forced fumblesDownside:

• Plays too upright• Raw hand technician• Stays blocked• Average instincts• Not dynamic changing direction• Limited point-of-attack, base strength• One-year producerThe Way We See It:

Motivated to support his hardworking, Haitian immigrant parents, Mercilus declared early, but is still very much a work in progress. Is a relentless, straight-linish speed rusher capable of disrupting anywhere on a four-man line. Stands out more for his effort than rush skill.

Is he a one-year wonder or can he continue on from that impressive season? Will he be able to shed blockers in the NFL? He could be the linebacker that we line up on the opposite side of Shaun Phillips.