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Whitney Mercilus hears the talk that he’s Mario Williams’ replacement

Whitney Mercilus

Illinois defensive lineman Whitney Mercilus runs drills during practice in San Francisco, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, in preparation for their Fight Hunger Bowl NCAA college football game scheduled for Dec. 31 against UCLA. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


The Texans spent their first-round draft pick on pass rusher Whitney Mercilus after losing pass rusher Mario Williams in free agency, and Mercilus knows what that means.

“A lot of people are saying the Texans drafted me to replace Mario,” Mercilus said on NBC Sports Talk. “I’m a new guy coming in and I have to learn the ropes, use my talents and what is taught to me to become a great player, and eventually I’ll try to attain my goals to be great, just like that.”

Mercilus was the NCAA leader in sacks at Illinois last season, with 16. Expecting Mercilus to be the kind of player Williams was in Houston would be a tall order, but Mercilus knows he has big shoes to fill, and he says he’s ready.

Here’s the Mercilus interview: