Entering his third season, Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus has a lot on his shoulders as well as great opportunity. With the addition of Jadeveon Clowney and Brooks Reed, and a probable move to the inside, it’s time for Mercilus to step into his own. Romeo Crennel likes taking players and setting them up for success. With the focus on JJ Watt and Clowney likely to be at the forefront of opposing teams coaches as they game plan for the Texans, Mercilus will have a lot of action headed his way early into the season.
Why we believe:
At 6-4 and 258lbs, Mercilus has the size needed to get the job down. His production last year increased and he’s had time to get comfortable on an NFL field. As stated above, he will have a lot of action run his way initially as teams look to nullify both Watt and Clowney by finding a weak spot on the Texans Armor. Improving on his 33 tackles and 7 sacks in 2013 can go a long way to making teams thing about other options. He has the ability and the drive to be a formidable weapon for the Texans. He’s smart, strong and skilled. The Texans liked him enough to take in the first round of the 2012 draft, now is the time to pay up on that.
Why we worry:
2013 was supposed to be a break out year for Mercilus. While he did improve he didn’t wow anyone. With the implosion of the Texans as a whole, one could say no one really had a great year. Great players are forged in the fires of pain and agony. Well, Whitney should be one tough hombre as the O’Brien era opens. New scheme, new coaches… practically a new team in some respects, can Mercilus use the 2013 crucible to make 2014 the year people really start paying attention to him? We haven’t seen much on what his role will be compared to what he’s been asked to do previously. A lot of pressure is on him not to be “the weakest link”.
Personally I have great faith he’s going to stand and deliver a scary good performance rolling into 2014.
Good enough that people will start seeing him in the same light they do Cushing. He’s got the potential, he’s shown us flashes, now he get’s to shine.
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