Why Cliff Avril's season deserves your attention
Through six seeks of the season, two 4-3 defensive ends have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. While New Orleans’ Cameron Jordan might have the edge in overall grading (+20.5), one could make the case that Seattle’s Cliff Avril (+19.9) is having the better year.
Avril had nine QB hurries in his Week 2 matchup against Green Bay, easily the best single-game performance of any 4-3 DE this season. To put that in perspective, no other 4-3 DE has more than seven in a game this year. Both Avril and Jordan line up predominantly on the left side, but Avril’s 27 total pressures and 14.8 pass-rush productivity are better than Jordan’s 23 pressures and 11.5 pass-rush productivity, especially when you factor in that Avril has played 40 fewer pass rushing snaps.
Both have 10 run stops on the year, but again, Avril’s been more efficient, as he’s played 30 fewer run snaps. Avril has also only missed one tackle on run plays, compared to Jordan’s three.
Avril only graded at +5.3 at this same time last year, and has seen a bump in his usage from 71.5 percent to 79.8 percent. Avril only hit the 80.0 percent usage mark last season in three games. He’s exceeded that mark in five of seven games this season.
Perhaps that’s a part of the reason for the increased production, as he has graded above +1.0 in all seven of his games thus far—the real shocker is that he’s finished with a +3.0 or better in all but one outing.
The “Legion of Boom” gets nearly all of the attention when it comes to Seattle’s defense, but it’s time to recognize the season Avril is posting.