HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – First-round draft pick Whitney Mercilus looked right at home in today’s first day of Texans training camp.
The 6-foot-4, 257 pound rookie out of Illinois flew past offensive lineman in drills and showed impressive speed.
A defensive end in a 4-3 scheme at Illinois, Mercilus has quickly adapted to his role as an outside linebacker in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme.
“[Phillips' 3-4 defense] is phenomenal.” Mercilus said. “It’s just reacting and getting after the quarterback. You’ve got to play hard, fast, and get to the ball.”
Mercilus was drafted to help offset the loss of Mario Williams in free agency, and already looks like a potential starter. He praised the simplicity of Phillips’ defensive scheme and also credited fellow pass-rushers Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed, and Jesse Nading as key to his success.
Mercilus adds depth to the Texans’ already outstanding pass rush, and looks forward to the high expectations facing the Texans this season.
“Everybody is hungry,” Mercilus said. “They want to win a championship this year, and I’m really happy to be around a younger defense who’s bouncing everywhere and getting to the ball.”