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Inside Free Agency - Day 21: Cliff Avril

Posted Mar 2, 2013

A look at the most interesting players available in 2013

The crazy time of year that is free agency is fast approaching, so KCChiefs.com has you covered with a 30-day free agency look, highlighting the 30 most intriguing free agents or players who could be released/traded during the offseason.

You may have noticed, there are no restricted free agents on the list, largely because they rarely leave their current teams. None of the reports are indicative of the Chiefs plans for the 2013 free agency season.

DAY 21 of 30

There's a hint that Cliff Avril may be playing for a team other than the Detroit Lions, next season, according to a report on RotoWorld.com. Wherever Avril lands in 2013, here's a look at some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Name: Cliff Avril
Position: DE
Height: 6'3
Weight: 260
College: Purdue
Born: April 8, 1986 (Jacksonville, Florida)
Age: 26
Experience: 5 years
Drafted: 2008, 3rd Round-29th pick (92nd overall) by Detroit Lions

Avril just completed his fifth NFL season, including 60 starts in 73 games.

STRENGTHS:

Rod Marinelli coached Avril in 2008 and has since alluded to some of his strengths.

“Avril has rare speed and athleticism and a knack for being a defensive end," Marinelli said. "I know he’s a very special player. The movement, the speed, the ability to play in space, and the redirection and instincts... he's very good in those areas.”

Showed Improvement

During his first three years in the league (2008-2010), Avril totaled 19 sacks; in 2011, he played in all 16 games for the first time, totaling 36 tackles and a team-high 11 sacks.

Forced-Fumble Factor

In 2011, Avril had more forced fumbles than any other defensive end (6) and recovered three fumbles (one for a TD), to go along with a pick-six.

Going into the 2012 season, Avril was placed with a franchise tag and finished the season with 35 tackles, two forced fumbles and 9.5 sacks. 

Sack Potential

The 26-year-old has at least eight sacks in each of the last three seasons and is still in his prime.

WEAKNESSES:

Inconsistency

Avril has great edge speed and has produced some dominating performances, but has struggled in the run game, since entering the league in 2008.

"Avril is an outside rusher who is not particualrly stout against the run, but pass-rushers are always in demand," said ESPN NFL Insider Bill Polian.


FINAL TAKE:

At just 26-years-old, Avril has more havoc to create for opposing QBs. While not being too impressive against the run, in the right system, I believe Avril will make the most of his opportunity.

Here's some of what Avril's current head coach Jim Schwartz said about him:

"We didn’t finish the way we wanted to defensively, but we got a lot of turnovers and Cliff was a big part of that," Schwartz said. "Cliff was also a guy who was drafted before I got here, but we’ve developed him, he’s developed with us, he’s become a better player every year. He’s added to his arsenal every year and he’s been a hard worker. I think all those things we recognize.”

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