With the 2018 NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, the time has come to praise and criticize the work of every NFL team in that arena. ESPN’s Mike Sando purports to give fans a look behind the curtain, courtesy of his conversations with various “coaches, executives and evaluators,” about how every organization fared. Naturally, it’s all anonymous. It makes for intriguing gossip, but what was allegedly said about your Houston Texans’ sixth round selections—or more to the point, what was said about Whitney Mercilus—makes as little sense as anything I’ve read in a long time.
Have you seen Deshaun Watson play? Because the moves Houston made precipitating his arrival -- clearing the decks by trading Brock Osweiler, then trading up to select Watson in 2017 -- are the reason Houston had no selections until the third round this year.
”I think they are happy to get Justin Reid to fall to them where he did [in the third round],” an insider said. “Then the edge player they took [Duke Ejiofor in the sixth round], there is a reason he fell. He failed his medical for some teams.”
Selecting Ejiofor and Stanford outside linebacker Peter Kalambayi in the sixth round caught the attention of one exec.
”I know it was only the sixth round, but the two edge players they took, that was interesting because that didn’t seem like a big need, and I have thought Whitney Mercilus could be a cap casualty at some point,” this exec said. “Depending on how those guys do in camp, that will be interesting to watch, maybe on the final cuts. Mercilus’ production has dropped, and his injuries are a big question. It could be moot if Ejiofor gets hurt, but [not] if he flashes in camp and they fall in love with him.”
If we’re talking only sacks (which would be silly, but bear with me), I suppose you could make the case that Mercilus’ production has dropped since his high water mark in 2015. But watching the actual player play football, I don’t feel like we’re talking about a dude who’s lost a step.
What’s this nonsense about Mercilus’ injury history rendering him “a big question”? Prior to last year’s pectoral injury, the Texans’ linebacker had never had a season where he played in less than fifteen games. Speaking of that torn pec, Mercilus was fully cleared in March and will participate in all offseason activities.
Barring some sort of unforeseen catastrophe, I don’t see any way that Whitney Mercilus is anything but a vital contributor to the success of the 2018 Houston Texans. Am I missing something? Or should we take comfort in the fact a competing NFL executive has such a poor grasp of reality?