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LIVING WITH ONE DOLLAR A DAY

miércoles, 29 de febrero de 2012

Mercilus, with Haitian roots, says his eye-catching season at Illinois isn't a fluke

By TYLER DUNNE - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
INDIANAPOLIS -- A third-round grade from the draft advisory board didn't stop him. No, Whitney Mercilus didn't need to think too long and hard about entering the 2012 NFL Draft. His parents, Haitian immigrants, never had much money.
So after his 16-sack tour de force through the Big Ten, Mercilus made the jump. He wants to give back to his parents. Now, for the next two months, one dreaded label will hover over him. His breakout was sudden, unexpected.
Mercilus is the classic "one-year wonder."
"There's no fluke to it - 16 is 16," Mercilus said. "There's no way you can just fall onto a sack."
True, but doubts will linger. Mercilus isn't alone, either. This draft's crop of pass rushers is scattered with question marks. There may be no sure thing, let alone one available to the Packers at No. 28 overall. If Green Bay is hoping to find a threat opposite Clay Matthews at right outside linebacker - a sore spot for the team all season - it'll be a difficult pick to nail.
Illinois' Mercilus, USC's Nick Perry, West Virginia's Bruce Irvin and Marshall's Vinny Curry are all possible options, while Thompson could also try to trade up for Alabama's Courtney Upshaw or South Carolina's Melvin Ingram. Somehow, the Packers need a pass rusher.
Thompson must figure out how this year's 4-3 defensive ends project as 3-4 outside linebackers.
"There are guys that come out that are traditional, guys that would play 4-3 defensive end and they do so at their school," Thompson said. "But those guys, I think there are 35 of them scheduled to cross workout this weekend. They're going to work out at defensive end and also going to work out at linebacker. Again, I don't think it's rocket science. I think instinctive athletes that like to play the game can play the game."
Since Dom Capers took over as defensive coordinator in 2009, the Packers haven't gambled much at the position. That first year they dealt one second-round pick and two third-rounders to the New England Patriots for the 26th overall pick and one fifth-round selection. And with the selection, Thompson found a long-term anchor in Matthews.
Of the other five other outside linebackers, one was a seventh-round pick, three were signed as undrafted rookies and one was a street pick-up in the middle of a season.
This April, the Packers will likely need to take a chance at the position. There's an element of risk.
Before 2011, Mercilus was a nonfactor at Illinois. He had just two sacks in two seasons. On Saturday, Mercilus said he "was still raw talent" then. And last year, the 6-4, 261-pound end wreaked havoc with nine forced fumbles.
Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2012/02/29/3784782/mercilus-with-haitian-roots-says.html#storylink=cpy
http://www.sunherald.com/2012/02/29/3784782/mercilus-with-haitian-roots-says.html