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.
Mercilus had 16 sacks during the 2011 college football season.