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Video: NFL Scouting Combine: Potential target file — Browns talk to Illinois DE, Akron native Whitney Mercilus

By Nate Ulrich Published: February 25, 2012

Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus

Height: 6 feet, 3 inches.

Weight: 260 pounds.

NFLDraftScout.com projection: First- or second-round pick.

Breakdown: Mercilus said he has talked to the Browns and is scheduled to interview with them tonight at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Mercilus, who grew up in Akron and graduated from Garfield High School, led the nation with 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles last season. He's fighting a one-year wonder label because he had only two sacks in his first two seasons at Illinois. "I think it's a negative label because once you have it, you have it," Mercilus said. "Once you’re able to produce like that and you put it all together, in your mind, you know you're able to repeat that success. (The key is) just going out and there and getting it each and every down, each and every game. There’s no fluke to it." The Browns need an upgrade at right defensive end, and Mercilus could be a candidate to be selected by his hometown team 22nd overall. Some NFL scouts have been exploring whether Mercilus would be better suited as a 3-4 outside linebacker instead of a 4-3 defensive end. However, Mercilus said most teams are looking at him as a 4-3 end. Still, he hopes to convince them he's versatile and athletic enough to play either position.

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