The Buffalo Bills are spending a lot of time at the 2012 NFL Combine talking to draft prospects in an attempt to familiarize themselves with players. That should be especially true of guys that came out of nowhere to have dominant 2011 campaigns, such as Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus.
The 6'4", 261-pound junior pass rusher told reporters this weekend that the Bills were one of a few teams very interested in him, and it's not difficult to understand why: after recording two sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in his first two seasons, Mercilus exploded for 16 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss last season, tying an Illinois team record for sacks previously held solely by Simeon Rice.
Mercilus has athletic chops, too; unofficially, he recorded a 4.63-second 40-yard dash and a 1.57-second 10-yard split working out Monday in Indianapolis. It all sounds fine and dandy on paper - and it is - but questions about Mercilus' being a dreaded "one-year wonder" - something that one Aaron Maybin was viewed as entering the 2009 NFL Draft - could put a damper on Mercilus' still-rising draft stock.