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Whitney Mercilus looks good at Illinois Pro Day

Whitney Mercilus AP

Whitney Mercilus probably improved on the third-round grade he got from the NFL draft advisory board with a strong combine and he may have improved on it even more during Illinois’ Pro Day workout on Tuesday.

Mercilus didn’t try to best his strong combine performances in the 40 or bench press, but he improved on his results in the short-shuttle and three-cone drills. But his most impressive work came during on-field drills where, according to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, he looked like a quick and explosive pass rusher. Pompei reports that Mercilus created a buzz among scouts during outside linebacker drills with three of them remarking on how smooth and fluid he looked while going through the workout.

Jaguars defensive line coach Joe Cullen ran the workout and, per Pompei, had dinner with Mercilus on Monday night. In total, 29 different teams were represented at the workout although no general managers made the trip to Champaign.

Mercilus put together a great 2011 season with the Illini, finishing with 16 sacks, but it was his only full year as a starter. That’s created some question about whether or not he’s a one year wonder that won’t hold up over the long haul against better competition. Pass rushing is at such a premium in the NFL right now that some team is likely to take the risk that Mercilus will be able to repeat his performance as a junior once he gets to the NFL.

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5 Responses to “Whitney Mercilus looks good at Illinois Pro Day”
  1. lionsfanatic84 says: Mar 6, 2012 4:30 PM

    If his dinner with Joe Cullen included going thru the drive-thru, I would take him off my draft board

  2. We'reFineThere says: Mar 6, 2012 5:09 PM

    This guy is definitely a first rounder. What is up with the draft advisory board? Bad grades for a 16 sack guy and earlier a 4.3 200 lbs corner? I guess its better to be conservative, but then, why does the board even exist?

  3. profootballwalk says: Mar 6, 2012 6:13 PM

    The guy also won multiple awards for the season, so that third round estimate is hard to figure. One year is an issue, but the draft is based on potential.

  4. romoscollarbone says: Mar 6, 2012 6:29 PM

    Ingram will be gone by 14, I’ve been touting for two weeks that the boys give him a long look.

  5. toonsterwu says: Mar 6, 2012 6:40 PM

    The Draft Advisory Board tends to be conservative because many teams haven’t dug that deeply into the underclassmen at the time they ask for an assessment. Keep in mind that, for all the Whitney Mercilus’ out there, there’s more guys who got decent assessments and failed to get drafted.

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