The Detroit Lions have one of the NFL’s best Defensive Front-lines. Cliff Avril is an important piece to that front line. He had 11 sacks, and 36 tackles (29 of which were solo). If stats say one thing it’s whether or not to re-sign a player and how much to pay him.
Cliff Avril plays alongside Ndamukong Suh, and when they double team Suh, Avril is more able to disrupt the offense’s play.
Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch are both the other part of the Lions great defensive line, and more importantly are signed for at least the next couple of years. If you had to ask them who they think the Lions need to put extra importance on re-signing they will say Cliff Avril in a heartbeat.
They know without Avril that not only will their defensive front be hurt but the rest of the defense will feel the sting of his absence.
How do you replace someone who does all of this? Suh and Bosch won’t be nearly as impactful on the field. Opponent’s offenses will not be as fearful of the Lions defense if Avril is not there. The Lions have a great edge in having those players especially with Avril to get into opponents heads. Avril’s impact on the Lions is hidden because of the news and notice Suh receives from the NFL.
I know the Lions have a list of players they need to re-sign, most notably on defense being linebacker Stephen Tullock. Tullock stat wise, was more consistent and had more of an impact on the field then Avril did. If Tullock left the void could be filled much easier than the loss of Cliff Avril. Mock NFL drafts have the Lions picking Zack Brown, a linebacker from North Carolina, who should replace Tullock if he indeed leaves via free agency.
In a perfect world the Detroit Lions would sign both of these key players but it is not. So players like Avril and Tullock will have the opportunity to see what other NFL teams will be willing to offer them. The Detroit Lions, if they are thinking of what is in the best interest of their team’s likelihood of winning a super bowl soon they will re-sign Cliff Avril. Their Defensive Line which is one the of the league’s best, would have a chance together to become one of the best in history.