HOUSTON -- It's not an easy thing to know that your team has just used the No. 1 pick to draft someone at your position.
There might not have been a better way to handle it than Whitney Mercilus did.
"Everybody can have their worries about it, speculate about a lot of things, somebody's going to get replaced or things like that, but that's what happens year in and year out," Mercilus said. "They're always trying to find somebody better at each position. All you can do is control what you can do and just go out there and make the best of your opportunities."
That opportunity came for Mercilus as opportunities often do in the NFL -- as the result of an injury. When first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney suffered a torn meniscus in his first game, that outside linebacker spot went back to Mercilus.
According to Pro Football Focus, Mercilus's 27 quarterback pressures from the right side rank seventh among 3-4 outside linebackers, a total that includes four sacks, 10 quarterback hits and 13 quarterback hurries. He garnered all four of those sacks in two games -- two against the Pittsburgh Steelers and two against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Mercilus said the process was tough, but he started to feel comfortable in the Texans' defense around the third preseason game.
"Being introduced to the new system, definitely a different system -- especially from what I was used to, so that was interesting," he said. " ... Most important thing is to know exactly where you're supposed to fit up. Knowing that actually allows you to know whether you have help, whether it's outside or inside. Where are your bodies at on the field?"
Understanding the concept of the defense as a whole was critical for Mercilus.
"Before it was pretty much just go, go, go," he said. "That's it."
Mercilus remained the Texans' starter when Clowney returned to playing. He's been an important piece of the Texans' defense.