There were bound to be a few players that dropped out of the first round, and there were murmurs that Merrill would be one of those players to fall. If he did, whichever team grabbed him would get a player with great potential, and should get a lot of value with their pick even if his stock was sliding.
Merrill was one of the top ranked young defenseman in North America, but lately has seen his name start to brought up along with words like “disappointing”. One of those guys that just hasn’t seemed to play up to his potential, despite having all of the tools to be a great defenseman.
The good news is that Merrill is still very young and has time, with the help of the Devils, to work on his shortcomings and play up to the level of talent many suspect he has. If his mental makeup had matched his physical tools, Merrill would easily have been picked in the top 15. As it stands, the Devils had Merrill fall to them and they get a player with great potential and great value early in the second round.