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Houston Texans Select Whitney Mercilus 26th Overall

The Houston Texans Selected DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus out of Illinois Thursday night with the 26th pick in the NFL draft.

Mercilus is 6-4, 261 and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds. The rest of his numbers checked in at 27 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, a 32.0-inch vertical jump and a 9-10 broad jump.

He led the NCAA with 16 sacks and tied an NCAA record with nine forced fumbles in 2011. He will most likely form a three-man rotation at the outside linebacker position with Connor Barwin and Brookes Reed.

What I’m most excited to see is how defensive coordinator Wade Phillips lines-up Mercilus, Barwin, Reed, Antonio Smith and J.J. Watt on obvious passing downs.

That’s a good combination of guys who know how to get after the football, and cause disruption in the backfield.

The second-ranked defense from last season acquired some much needed depth, and maybe didn’t completely offset the loss of former first-overall pick Mario Williams, but defiantly made it more bearable.

“I’m nasty,” Mercilus said. “I get after the passer. I’m not going to give up. I give 110 percent all day, every day. I won’t ever give up. I’m willing to learn and earn my rank among the Houston defense and plan on trying to contribute right away.”

The 21-year old was considered a ‘one-year wonder’ by many having only started one season at Illinois, leaving early as an early-out junior.

“They say one-year wonder, but you wonder why they didn’t play him the year before is what I wonder,” Phillips said. “He’s a natural pass rusher. He’s got the skills that you look for in pass rushers. He’s a little different than Brooks Reed was last year. He more used to using his hands, and he’s got a speed rush, he’s got a power rush and he’s got a quick inside move.”

Feel free to mute your speakers before the highlight video, especially if you’re at work.

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