The Houston Chronicle caught up with the Houston Texans' first round pick, Whitney Mercilus, as well as his new coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Wade Philips. Mercilus was compared to 2011 second round pick Brooke Reed by Phillips, who says that Mercilus is no "project" player and will contribute right away:
"He’s more used to using his hands than Brooks was, and he’s a really good football player," Phillips said. "By the end of the year, Brooks and J. J. were dominant players. This kid will fit right in with them."
Mercilus became a full-time starter in his final season as a junior, and graduated college early with a 3.0 GPA to prepare for the NFL Draft to help his family. Mercilus is the son of Haitian immigrants. The bulk of his stats come from a single season, something the Texans could be criticized for in gambling with a first round pick. But Mercilus expressed excitement at working in a Houston defensive system suited to his strengths:
"I’m super excited," he said. "I can’t wait to be part of the Houston Texans’ system. It’s unbelievable. I’m looking to learn (but) to contribute right away."
For more on the Houston Texans and the 2012 NFL Draft, check out SB Nation's NFL page, Mocking The Draftand Battle Red Blog.