Mario Williams has left Houston, and now the Texans have the pass rusher they hope can adequately replace him.
Whitney Mercilus, who led the NCAA with 16 sacks at Illinois last year, can line up at defensive end or outside linebacker and rush off the edge, although there are questions about whether Mercilus is a complete enough player.
Some observers thought the Texans had bigger needs than a pass rusher, but it’s easy to see why this was the pick for Texans G.M. Rick Smith: Mercilus immediately upgrades the pass rush of a team that expects to be protecting a lot of late leads this season. After the first playoff appearance in franchise history, the Texans have just added a player who will be able to contribute right away as they try to get to the postseason twice in a row.