Seattle Seahawks: Cliff Avril an Underrated X-Factor for Super Bowl Odds

By Thomas Emerick
Cliff Avril
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks have so, so much going for them. They could very well have NFL‘s best secondary, young middle linebacker in Bobby Wagner and rising quarterback in Russell Wilson. However, the big question as to whether they can capitalize on all this with a Super Bowl win — currently runner-up favorites to the San Francisco 49ers — in 2013 comes down to whether they can mount a consistent pass rush.

With Chris Clemons still recovering from a knee injury that required surgery after their wild-card game against the Redskins, Seattle knew they needed to bolster their edge rush. After all, nearly their entire threat of an edge rush last season came from Clemons. So they went after Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency.

Problem solved? Not quite.

Bennett is a good overall defensive end but not an extraordinary edge rusher. Irvin is suspended to start the season and still has much to prove. Meanwhile, Avril hasn’t been exactly great the past two years and currently is not even healthy. Avril missed the opening preseason game with a foot injury.

“Definitely not how I wanted to start,” Avril said, via Pro Football Talk. “You know, it’s part of football, things happen. … I definitely would like to get out there for one of these three games,” Avril said. “It’s a little bit different from practicing. When it’s out there, the games are a lot quicker and a lot more physical. So you definitely would like to get a feel for it before the season starts for sure.”

Avril under Pro Football Focus grades of -3.3 and -12.1 over the past two seasons after recording a +17.9 grade in 2010. Avril’s ability to bring pressure, especially in the absences of Clemons and Irvin, will be absolutely crucial for Seattle this year.

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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