Carolina Panthers: The Key to the Houston Texans

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Aug 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback

Peyton Manning

(18) throws in the pocket as tackle

Ty Sambrailo

(74) blocks against Houston Texans linebacker

Whitney Mercilus

(59) at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

5. Whitney Mercilus, OLB
Yes, the Texans have a linebacker named Mercilus. Mercilus played end at Illinois, but has made the transition to outside linebacker quite well. Mercilus is worth about six sacks a year, so he is not Kevin Greene but he is still a threat on the outside.

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4. Jared Crick, DE
What do you want at defensive end in a 3-4 scheme? You want somebody who will mix it up and bog down the offensive line so that the defense gets numbers advantage elsewhere. Crick, a big time player at Nebraska, fits that mold perfectly. The reason you never hear about him is because of his linemates. You won’t see it in his stats, but Crick is an important cog.