Most Improved Texan of the Year – Whitney Mercilus, OLB
Stats: 52 tackles, 12 sacks and a forced fumble
Whitney Mercilus was given a sizable contract extension this offseason, which seemed like it may have been more compensation than his play had earned him to this point in his career.
The Texans knew something the rest of us didn’t because Mercilus exploded this season for 12 sacks, after averaging just six sacks per season his previous three season in the NFL.
More from Toro Times
- Houston Texans Draft: Michael Mayer should be a no doubter at pick 12
- Houston Texans already telling fans the Davis Mills era is over
- Houston Texans have hand forced, waste no time in firing Lovie Smith
- Houston Texans: Pros and Cons of keeping Head Coach Lovie Smith
- There is just one way the Texans can lose the No. 1 pick
His season started slow as the first round pick from 2012 had zero sacks and little impact in the first five weeks of the season. Then on October 18th in Jacksonville, Mercilus brought down Jags quarterback Blake Bortles two times, leading an impressive run of 12 sacks in 11 games.
The linebacker was able to record his numbers in bunches at times as he recorded three and a half sacks against the Tennessee Titans in their first meeting this season. He also recorded three and a half in the season finale against Jacksonville, pairing with J.J. Watt to be the first Texans duo to ever record three sacks or more in a game each.
The Texans also were able to set a record for most sacks in their history for a season as they finished with 45 quarterback take downs on their way to the post season. Mercilus’ improved play went a long way towards helping in that endeavor.
Next: Comeback Texan of the Year