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NFL Draft 2012: Could Whitney Mercilus Land With The New York Jets?

Can Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus work his way into the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, and if so, where might he end up. Over at SB Nation's Mocking The Draft, they believe he is good enough to be taken in the middle of the first round, and project that the New York Jets will be the team to take him:

16. New York Jets (8-8) – [Team needs:] OLB, RT, FS, SS, WR, DE – Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois – The Jets need to address their pass rush with a good, pass-rushing, 3-4 OLB. Mercilus is a phenomenal athlete and combines that with a good set of pass rushing moves.

Mercilus led the Illini defense with 16 sacks in 2011.

More: 2012 NFL Draft Overall Rankings

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on Mercilus, be sure to check out Illinois blog Hail to the Orange. Check out SB Nation's 2012 NFL Draft coverage for more news and analysis.