Merling had a solid freshman season in which he had 22 tackles, four for loss, and two sacks on the season. As a sophomore he had 46 tackles, ten for loss, and three sacks playing opposite Gaines Adams. He put it all together this year as the headliner on the line, finishing with 78 tackles, 17 for loss, and seven sacks.
Merling is one of the best all around ends in the draft. He has very good size, is strong at the point of attack and is a force against the run. He can get off blocks and get to the ball carrier and bring them down. He has also shown the ability to come off the edge and consistently apply pressure to the QB. He is a solid athlete that comes off the line quickly and does not quit until the whistle blows.
While Merling is a good all around performer, he is not a standout pass rusher. He is not a freak athlete that will blow you away with his ability to get to the QB.
Merling has a nice blend of skills and should be a very good NFL performer. He may not be a true game changer from a pass rushing perspective but he is a player that will consistently make plays because of his all around ability. He looks like a first rounder that could go higher for a team needing an all around threat on the edge.