Biography: All-conference and All-American player last season with totals of 57 tackles/22.5 tackles for loss/16 sacks, leading the nation in sacks. Also forced nine fumbles. Started two games as a redshirt sophomore and finished with 16/3/1.
Positives: Natural pass rusher whose game is on the rise. Explosive, plays with good lean and constantly penetrates the line of scrimmage. Fast off the edge, immediately alters his angle of attack and loses no momentum when he must change direction. Displays outstanding movement skills, wedges through double-team blocks and shows speed in backside pursuit. Keeps his hands active throughout the action and effectively protects himself. Plays with good balance and rarely gets knocked off his feet.
Negatives: Gets caught up in the wash and struggles disengaging from blocks. Almost solely makes plays up the field.
Analysis: Mercilus watched his game take off last season and was a nasty defender who continually attacked opposing quarterbacks. He was a disruptive force who altered the momentum of games with the ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He could be a pass-rushing end in a four-man line or an outside linebacker in a 34 alignment in the NFL. Mercilus needs to refine his game, but comes with a large upside.
Randy Litzinger/Icon SMI
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