Texans sign first-round pick Whitney Mercilus

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The Houston Texans have their first-round draft pick in the fold.

Whitney Mercilus, an outside linebacker from Illinois who led the NCAA with 16 sacks last season, has reached an agreement with the team on his rookie contract, the Texans announced.

Needing to bolster the pass rush after losing Mario Williams to the Bills in free agency, the Texans grabbed Mercilus with the 26th overall pick. Although he’s making a switch from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker, the Texans are hoping he can step right in and start immediately.

Houston has now signed six of its eight draft picks. Two third-round picks, wide receiver DeVier Posey and guard Brandon Brooks, remain unsigned.