NFL Draft 2012, Whitney Mercilus: NFL.com's Greg Cosell Projects Illinois DE Will Be Taken By Titans

In his 2012 mock draft for NFL.com, Greg Cosell projects that Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus will be selected 20th overall by the Tennessee Titans. While Cosell says Mercilus is "a little bit of a straight line rusher with a limited repertoire," he feels the defensive end can provide the pass-rushing boost that the Titans need.

Mercilus was one of the most intriguing players I watched on tape. He rarely aligned wide in Illinois' defense, which significantly limited his pass-rush space and minimized his initial burst off the ball and his overall athleticism. The Titans need to rush the quarterback better (only 28 sacks in 2011), and they can select Mercilus and line him up wide to maximize his pass-rush ability. At this point, Mercilus is a little bit of a straight line rusher with a limited repertoire, but there's no question he has burst and closing speed.

Related: NFL Draft 2012: Bears' Coach Lovie Smith Excited About Draft, Satisfied With Offseason

Mercilus had 16 sacks during the 2011 college football season.

Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the Chicago Bears be sure to visit Windy City Gridiron. And drop by SB Nation NFL for more news and notes from around the league.

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