After already going on the clock twice in the third-round, the Lions decided to make a trade that gave them one more third-round selection. The trade allowed Detroit to pick Purdue tweener Cliff Avril, who can play both defensive end and outside linebacker. His measureables project him as more of a linebacker in the NFL, but with the Lions he is likely going to be Rod Marinelli's edge rusher on the defensive line.
The one criticism Avril has received the most is that he doesn't show up enough during games. He amazed people at the combine and during his workouts, but some NFL scouts were a tad disappointed in how he played during games. Regardless, he should see a decent amount of playing time given the Lions lack of depth at defensive end. I don't see him starting in the immediate future, but down the road that's a realistic possibility.
Here's what others are saying about Avril:
Strengths: A tweener DE/OLB that can be very effective when turned loose up the field. Has very long arms (34.5 inches) and big hands (9.6 inches) for his smaller frame. Fires out of stance with very good leverage and shows good body control and lean when turning the corner. Displays very good initial burst and top-end speed for the position. Much stronger upper body than lower body. Uses rip and swim moves effectively. Does a good job of keeping his hands active and will jar some OT's with his initial punch. Displays a good motor. Plays with a mean streak and won't back down from physical challenge versus bigger OT's. He shows good initial pop as a tackler and will occasionally jar the ball loose.
Weaknesses: Is undersized. Lacks ideal height and has just adequate bulk for his shorter frame. Plays with a narrow base and will struggle to anchor at the point of attack when teams run at him. Gets in trouble when forced to play head-up or inside shoulder of OT. Needs to be a seven-technique to be effective. Gets too far up the field ate times and will take himself out of plays. Has very limited experience turning and running in coverage as an OLB.
POSITIVES: Athletic defender with good size and playing speed. Plays with good pad level, rarely off his feet, and uses good hand technique to protect himself. Fast off the edge, can bend around the corner, and covers a large amount of area on the field. Displays speed in pursuit. Quickly changes direction, nicely redirects to the ball-carrier, and displays a good head for the action.
NEGATIVES: Slow shedding blocks and engulfed by larger linemen. Did not live up to expectations as a senior.
A great athlete...Good speed and quickness with a burst...Active with a non-stop motor..Does a nice job of shedding blockers...Versatile with experience at multiple positions...Hard worker with top intangibles...Productive and made a lot of impact plays..Hails from a program that is known for producing similar types of prospects.
Undersized and does not have the bulk you look for...Is not stout at the point and could be a liability against the run..Heavily reliant on the speed rush and needs to develop additional moves..May be a 'tweener who has to make a position change.
SI Film Room:
Looking at the depth chart for defensive end, Dewayne White and Jared DeVries are projected to be the two starters. After that, it's really a toss-up for who gets to be the backups. I would say Corey Smith and Ikaika Alama-Francis have the best chance to be the backups, but Avril certainly could come in and beat one of those two out.