Mercilus impresses at Illinois pro day
By Dan Pompei, Tribune reporter
2:17 p.m. CST, March 6, 2012
CHAMPAIGN -- The draft stock of Whitney Mercilus continued its upward trend Tuesday as the Illinois defensive end was the standout at the school's pro day.
Mercilus passed on the 40-yard dash, the vertical and broad jumps and bench press after having done well in those tests at the combine. But he did decide to take another stab at the short shuttle and the three-cone drill.
He improved his short-shuttle time to 4.49 (from 4.53 at the combine) and he improved his three-cone drill to 7.03 (from 7.17 at the combine).
What’s more, Mercilus looked quick and explosive in pass-rush drills and created a buzz among scouts with how well he did in outside linebacker drills. Three scouts remarked about how smooth and fluid Mercilus looked in his drops, and Mercilus even showed good hands.
Among those present was New England Patriots college scouting director Jon Robinson, who usually is the member of the front office but who evaluates defensive ends who are trying to play linebacker.
There were no general managers, head coaches or defensive coordinators at the workout, but there was a good showing of area scouts. There were 34 NFL representatives from 29 teams.
Pro scout James Kirkland represented the Bears, as the college scouts were tied up in draft meetings.
Jaguars defensive line coach Joe Cullen led the pass-rush drills and also had dinner with Mercilus on Monday night. He was one of two representatives present from the Jacksonville organization.
Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins ran the short shuttle and three cone as well. He skipped those two drills at the combine, but did well Tuesday with a 4.11 short shuttle and 6.73 three cone. He also looked good in positional drills.
“I think I did pretty well,” Jenkins said. “I wanted to show I could run the routes, have quick feet and catch the ball well. I wanted to show I had the overall athleticism for wide receiver.”
Illini cornerback Tavon Wilson also might have boosted his stock a bit with a 4.55 40-yard dash.
Well he's getting attention from teams. This is good because it puts another pass rusher a bit farther up in round one. Maybe this is our guy. I'm a little concerned about him being a workout warrior and lacking in football skills and recognition which was part of the scouting rap on him. I think how he stacks up in interviews and what kind of football intelligence he shows will be important. Good to here he's moving up now.
I'm getting to that age where a lifetime warranty just doesn't mean as much to me anymore as an afternoon nap.
Honey Badger Don't Care. Honey Badger Don't Give a Shit.