Detroit Lions: Ernie Sims Gone, Cliff Avril Next?

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Detroit Lions: Ernie Sims Gone, Cliff Avril Next?
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The trade of Ernie Sims has brought a lot of mixed emotions from Lions fans. Many feel like trading Sims created another hole in the defense.

Consider though that if Ernie Sims didn't fit the system and wasn't playing at a high level, it probably already WAS a hole in the mind of the coaches and in trading him the Lions greatly upgraded their passing attack.

Well, there may be another player on the Lions roster who doesn't totally fit the system and could bring more offensive fire power to Detroit. As you may have guessed, I believe that player is Cliff Avril.

At 260 pounds Avril is not the prototypical 4-3 defensive end that Schwartz typically uses. Though he does have a very similar body type to former Tennessee Titan Jevon Kearse, Avril hasn't shown nearly the same pass rushing ability in his first two years that Kearse did. In Kearse's first two years he had 26 sacks, Avril has only 10.5.

There is no doubt that Avril has potential, but currently he is likely only to see time on third downs or obvious passing situations.

However, he may be a perfect fit as a 3-4 rush linebacker. Coming out of college he was considered a DE/OLB "'tweener" and I still believe he could play in a 3-4 scheme.

There are quite a few 3-4 teams looking for rush linebackers in this draft: Arizona, Buffalo, NE, NYJ and Miami just to name a few.

A couple of those teams have RB's who are rumored to be on the trade block. Buffalo has been said to be open to moving Marshawn Lynch, the Jets could certainly trade Leon Washington now that they have LT to go along with Shawn Greene and there were rumors that the Dolphins could move Ronnie Brown.

Now while it likely wouldn't be an even swap, the question is: Would you give up Avril in exchange for one of those game changing backs?

This would allow the Lions to focus on other positions of need in rounds 2-4, including the new hole at WLB vacated by Ernie Sims and needs in the secondary.

There is also a possibility that players like Carlos Dunlap and Everson Griffin, DE's who are a little bigger and have prototypical size, could fall into round two where the Lions would be waiting.

I'm going to go ahead and assume by the outrage that was expressed after the Sims trade that many fans wouldn't like this idea, but it's certainly food for thought going into the draft.

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