Genard Avery is already bringing the juice to Philly. And the Eagles’ newest pass-rusher knows how to win over fans.
Avery, who was acquired Monday from Cleveland for a 2021 fourth-round pick, had 4.5 sacks during his rookie campaign in 2018 and then seemingly fell out of favor with the Browns’ coaching staff. He has played in just two games while being inactive for the majority of this season.
The 24-year-old played his college ball at the University of Memphis and was drafted in the fifth round. Avery is considered a hybrid linebacker and defensive end, with similar physical attributes to the Eagles’ Brandon Graham. He ran the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.59 seconds at the NFL Combine.
It’s unclear why Cleveland wanted to unload him after a productive first season, but many Browns fans flocked to social media to criticize the move. Dan Labbe of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer penned a column in which he referred to the trade as a “disappointment for all involved” and referred to Avery as a “disruptive force off the edge.” This could be a bargain move for Philadelphia.
Avery played two defensive snaps against the Rams and three snaps against the Patriots. He becomes the second of [Browns GM John] Dorsey’s 2018 draft picks to get traded away. Austin Corbett, the No. 33 overall pick from Dorsey’s first Browns class, was sent to the Rams for a fifth-round pick in 2021.
You can spin this as the Browns trading a player they picked in the fifth round for a future fourth, but future picks don’t win games. Players over picks is how it works, and the Browns failing to find a role for a player with Avery’s skillset is disappointing.
Eagles Newest Pass-Rusher Once Sacked Nick Foles
The highlight-reel video making the internet rounds Monday was one that Genard Avery himself tweeted out and it featured the pass-rusher overpowering Zach Ertz on a blitz and getting a strip-sack on Nick Foles in a preseason game. The play vividly displayed his untapped potential.
According to Pro Football Focus, Avery was second on the team in hurries with 29 and second in pressures with 42 in 2018. He also finished with 40 total tackles, including a forced fumble and fumble recovery in 16 games (five starts) during his rookie year. In addition, he was a guy the Eagles were reportedly “very high” on entering the 2018 draft.
Memphis Product Had Buzz Coming Out of College
Genard Avery was projected to be a linebacker in the NFL after thriving at the University of Memphis. The 6-foot-1, 248-pounder registered 80 tackles, (including 22 for loss), along with 8.5 sacks, two pass breakups and two forced fumbles as a senior. Most NFL scouts pegged Avery to be either a fifth- or sixth-round pick, and he ended up going 150th overall to Cleveland.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein gave a positive scouting report prior to the 2018 draft:
Avery is a big, athletic linebacker with a history of production whether he’s playing inside or outside linebacker. While he’s a little tight-hipped, his movement in the open field is generally unencumbered. Avery offers versatility and teams may choose to build on some of the rush talent he showed this season, but his best spot appears to be as a 4-3 strong-side linebacker with plus special teams ability.
Fun fact: Avery was a state champion powerlifter in high school back in Mississippi. He also has a fondness for “underdogs” and appeared to be cheering for the Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
For what it’s worth, Avery re-tweeted a photo of Jake Elliott rolling around in green-and-white confetti following the NFC Championship Game.
The most important thing to remember is that this could be the first domino to fall with the NFL’s trade deadline looming. Avery would be a nice complementary piece to whatever the Eagles decide to add tommorrow. Stay tuned.
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