Fantasy Reaction: Cliff Avril Signs With Seattle
After trading for Percy Harvin, the Seahawks continued to load up this offseason, signing arguably the most talented pass rusher on the market. There hadn’t been much news on Cliff Avril or the defensive end market at large, but Seattle quickly snatched him up to a team-friendly two-year, $15 million deal. This move fills a gaping hole on the defensive line following Chris Clemons’ ACL tear in the playoffs.
Avril, 27, has established himself as a strong pass rusher over his first five seasons. He has 40 career sacks, with no less than nine in each of his last three seasons. Avril has also racked up 16 forced fumbles in his career. While these numbers are solid, his 35 QB pressures in 2012 is a tad on the low side. He’ll need to boost those numbers in order to top double-digit sack totals in Seattle.
While Avril excels as a pass rusher, he struggles against the run. Avril owns a -24.4 run defense grade, and has only finished one season with a positive rating in that department. This will put Seattle in a compromising position against the run when fellow pass rusher Bruce Irvin is on the field, who finished last season with a -9.1 rating when defending against the run.
Still, this is one of the bigger defensive signings this offseason, and Avril is a needed addition to an already stacked Seattle defense. His signing doesn’t bode well for Chris Clemons’ prospects of returning in 2013, and it’s reasonable to expect Avril to be used as the “Leo” edge rusher in Seattle’s 4-3 “Under” scheme.
Avril has flashed fantasy upside at times over the last three seasons, but his lack of consistency has frustrated owners. While he certainly has double-digit sack potential, his lack of tackle production makes him a risky proposition. To Avril’s credit, he does have a penchant for the big play, but it’s never advisable to rely on this sort of fantasy production. At best, Avril’s a DL2, though I’d be much more comfortable with him as a DL3 this season.