Whitney Mercilus: DE/OLB, Illinois
This mock draft has worked out very well for the Patriots. After snagging a player some believe to be a top 15 talent with the 27th pick in Michael Brockers, they now get a top-20 talent with the 31st pick, Illinois pass-rusher Whitney Mercilus.
Mercilus, who played defensive end for the Illini, entered the draft early after an extraordinarily productive junior season. In 13 games, Mercilus had 22.5 tackles for loss (most by a player in a BCS conference) and 16 sacks (2.5 more than anyone else in the nation). He also forced 9 fumbles, a Big Ten single reason record and the most by any player in at least 5 years. Mercilus is a handful for opposing offensive linemen due to his quickness off the snap and his non-stop motor. Additionally, his propensity for stripping the ball will drive opposing offensive coordinators insane.
More after the jump...
There have been questions as to what defensive scheme Mercilus would fit best into. Though he played on the line in college, some have speculated that he may be better served as a pass-rushing linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. I believe Mercilus would be a great fit in any scheme, and with the Patriots especially because of their use of both the 4-3 and 3-4. With Mark Anderson gone to Buffalo and Andre Carter currently a free agent rehabbing a torn quad, the Patriots need a pass-rusher, and Whitney Mercilus may just end up being the best in the draft. Not bad for the 31st pick.
Our last guy on the clock will be NYG_Slater with the New York Giants. Check back tomorrow to see who he's chosen for the final pick!
Previous Picks: #1 Andrew Luck, #2 Robert Griffin III, #3 Morris Claiborne, #4 Trent Richardson, #5 Matt Kalil, #6 Justin Blackmon, #7 Melvin Ingram, #8 Ryan Tannehill, #9 Michael Floyd, #10 Dre Kirkpatrick, #11 David DeCastro, #12 Courtney Upshaw, #13 Luke Kuechly, #14 Fletcher Cox, #15 Quinton Coples, #16 Mark Barron, #17 Stephon Gilmore, #18 Riley Reiff, #19 Janoris Jenkins, #20 Nick Perry, #21 Kendall Wright, #22 Stephen Hill, #23 Cordy Glenn, #24 Dont'a Hightower, #25 Jonathan Martin, #26 Dontari Poe, #27 Michael Brockers, #28 Devon Still, #29 Peter Konz, #30 Coby Fleener