25

April

Green Bay Packers Draft Matchup: LB Shea McClellin vs. DE/LB Whitney Mercilus

Shea McClellin OLB Boise State NFL Draft Profile

Shea McClellin OLB Boise State

Both Shea McClellin and Whitney Mercilus could be considered late risers on most NFL draft boards, including the Packers’ board. Different types of late risers, but late risers nonetheless.

Mercilus had only two sacks and didn’t do much of anything at Illinois in 2009-10 before exploding for 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles in 2011. McClellin wasn’t a highly regarded recruit coming into Boise St., but kept improving and became a feared edge rusher and versatile hybrid LB/DE. While Mercilus was projected as a first-rounder as soon as “draft season” started, it took a while for McClellin to get the attention he deserved and start rising up boards.

If McClellin and Mercilus are still avalaible when the Packers pick in the first round, I would take McClellin. I think McClellin still has some room to grow as a pass rusher and I’d love to see him develop opposite of Clay Matthews. I also think McClellin is a better fit in Dom Capers’ defense. He can rush from the edge, drop into coverage, stunt up the middle and move around if needed as Capers disguises his coverages and schemes.

It’s tough to go against Mercilus’ numbers from last season and his obvious raw talent, but he plays a little too high for my tastes and I think he’s more of a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 OLB. I can’t see Mercilus dropping into coverage or doing much of anything else besides trying to chase the QB from the edge.

——————

Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

——————

1

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

Whitney Mercilus

Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Whitney Mercilus.

Player information:

  • Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
  • 6-foot-4, 265 pounds
  • Graduated high school with a GPA over 3.0 and his parents are from Haiti.
NFL Combine:
  • 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.53 seconds
  • 3 Cone Drill: 7.17 seconds
  • 40 Yard Dash: 4.63 seconds
  • Bench Press: 27.0 reps
  • Broad Jump: 118.0″
  • Vertical Jump: 32.0″

News & Notes:
Stock is rising after the combine…Finished with a NCAA-best 16 sacks in 2011 as a first-time starter…Forced nine fumbles in 2011, second highest in NCAA history…Led the Big Ten with 22.5 tackles for loss…First-team All-American and Big Ten honors…Won the Ted Hendricks award as the nation’s top DE…Unpolished and still developing…high-effort player.

What they’re saying about him:

  • Dane Brugler (NFLDraftScout.com): “Attacks gaps and is a pesky rusher, finding ways to squirm into the backfield. Hard player to block cleanly.”
  • Mark Potash (Chicago Sun Times: Potash quotes an NFL scout: ‘‘Mercilus is a speed rusher with excellent athletic ability. The question [is], will he be a one-year wonder or an up-and-comer? He could be productive as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 edge guy.’
  • Matt Bowen (National Football Post): “Wasn’t perfect in positional drills, but displayed enough athletic ability to align as a 4-3 DE or drop into coverage as a 3-4 backer. Plenty of discussion that Mercilus is a one-year wonder…let the tape be the judge of that.”

Video

Video analysis:

  • Tries to blow past blockers on every play
  • If someone teaches this kid an inside move or two, look out
  • Lost outside containment only once in the above video
  • You have to get a body on this kid, even when you run away for him
  • Has one mission: Get upfield. Makes him susceptible to draws, but that’s coachable
  • If the Packers draft this kid, I can see him becoming a huge hit in training camp because of his athleticism. Lots of ooohs and ahhhs during speed drills
——————

Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

——————