Wednesday notes: Cliff Avril & offensive tackles

Cliff Avril on injured reserve

This is sad news and certainly not the way you’d want Cliff Avril to potentially end his career.

Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that’s the case:

Avril has long been under-appreciated and underrated not just in Seattle but in the NFL overall. He’s had an extremely consistent and productive nine-year stretch for the Lions and Seahawks. Between 2010 and 2016 he played in all but four games, recording 62.5 sacks. Always there for his team, always making plays.

He’s also an exceptional athlete. At the 2008 combine he ran a 1.50 10-yard split at 253lbs. Anything in the 1.5’s is considered elite. Avril nearly cracked the 1.4’s.

At only 31 years old hopefully he will make a full recovery. His cap hit next year is a ridiculously team friendly $8m. In the modern market a player of Avril’s quality might cost double that amount.

It’s also possible he could still return this year. The Seahawks can call back two players from injured reserve and haven’t got another candidate at the moment. It seems unlikely due to the serious nature of the injury — but at least the option is there.

More importantly though this is about a man’s health. Avril has done so much for charity during his career and was an integral addition as the Seahawks won their first Super Bowl in 2013. The time where they added Percy Harvin, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril in an incredible triple move will go down as one of the more exciting weeks in franchise history.

This is a big opportunity for Frank Clark. He had an exceptional game against the Rams and is eligible for a new contract in the off-season. We’ll see if Marcus Smith expands his role and hopefully Dion Jordan can have an impact down the line.

Avril is one of the best pass rushers this franchise has had. Period.

They can only dream of finding a player in the future with equal stature who will provide so much quality at such great value.

If you want to donate to the Cliff Avril Family Foundation, or if you want more information on the great work they do, here’s the link.

Offensive tackle problems

The knee injury for Trey Adams — and the reports since suggesting he will now return to Washington in 2018 — has left the offensive tackle draft class looking pretty thin.

We’ve had this discussion before…

There will be some nice O-line options in the draft next year (Quenton Nelson, Mike McGlinchey, Billy Price) but there’s no getting away from the fact the tackle numbers are light yet again.

Tony Pauline sums up the problem:

That leaves just two potential first-round tackles: Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame and Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown.

People I’ve spoken with tell me they expect Brown to enter the draft but that he doesn’t grade out as a top-25 selection — an opinion I share at this point.

Several scouts are enamored with Chukwuma Okorafor of Western Michigan, but I haven’t heard any first-round grades on him since the season began. The recent ankle injury to Martinas Rankin, which I’m told is worse than what’s being reported, also negatively impacts the position.

The projected crop of free-agent tackles for next March does not look very promising either. This means teams needing an offensive tackle in the offseason could be in a bind.

That last paragraph really does ring true. A league lacking adequate talent at left tackle is facing another barren year in the draft and free agency.

Nate Solder, recently struggling with the Patriots, is arguably the best prospective free agent set to hit the market next year. Then you have the likes of Luke Joeckel, Justin Pugh and Jack Mewhort. There’s no Andrew Whitworth next year.

This is possibly why so many teams spent big money on O-liners in free agency in March — anticipating an even weaker crop of veterans in 2018.

This might be one of the reasons why the Seahawks have been pursuing the likes of Branden Albert and Duane Brown. At the very least they’d get some veteran security on the left side of the line and some insurance for 2018. They wouldn’t need to pick at the limited options available on the open market.

It’s only October and a lot can change over the next few weeks — but the injury to Cliff Avril and the continued issues with the O-line make it increasingly likely we’ll be focusing on the trenches again come draft time. It’s looking like there’ll be a very attractive crop of defensive line talent available. And at the very least a handful of good O-line options (Nelson, Price, McGlinchey).

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  1. Drew

    Wow tough news for Avril. Hope he makes a full recovery to at least enjoy the rest of his life comfortably if he cant play again. In the mean time I cant wait to see Frank Clark as a full time starter. If Avril retires that money is going to be needed for S. Richardson. It makes me wonder how much more Bennett has in the tank as he keeps picking up injuries as he gets older as well.

  2. Kenny Sloth

    Get your LEO scouting goggles ready

    • icb12

      Anybody checked out this dude.

      Ade Aruna- Tulane


      Sione Teuhema. Was on the roster as a DE for LSU. Suspended and transferred to SE LA. Has switched to OLB and looks like it suits him.

      Speaking of LSU- Arden Key looks like he might finally be rounding into form this season. Hope to see him get on track.

  3. C-Dog

    It kinda felt like Carroll was hinting a couple weeks ago that the Avril situation was maybe going to head in this direction. For any cap folks out there, does his placement on the IR free up some cash to bring in Duane Brown or Brandon Albert?

    • Josh

      No cap savings.

      • C-Dog

        That’s what I thought.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      But if he declares retirement, it might change the cap #s….. (?)

  4. Smitty1547

    Do we save any if retired or do we eat it, seems like we ate the Lynch contract.

    • Rob Staton

      Yes, would only need to pay the remaining guarantees which is about $500,000 in 2018. But Avril says he has no plans to retire.

  5. CharlieTheUnicorn

    I think we have to consider DL/DE a priority spot for draft purposes now. Both Avril and Bennett are on the wrong side of 30 now….. so it was a spot that would most likely be addressed via the draft in 2018, however…. due to injury, it might have to become the #2 most important spot to address in the draft. The #1 most important would probably still be OT, but a case could be made for LB (or RB) as well.

    *changing gears slightly*
    So, for example, if Trey Adams actually declared for the draft…. and was available to Seattle late in the first round, would Seattle take him…. even with the injury recovery unclear??? I understand he has pretty much stated he is coming back to Washington in 2018, but this is more a hypothetical.

    • cha

      I was surprised Adams so quickly decided he’d come back for another year. Especially given the premium the league places on the position, exacerbated by the thin crop highlighted in the piece.

      Even if he starts the season on the PUP I can’t imagine a team wouldn’t take a look at him in the mid to late first round.

    • AlaskaHawk

      Seahawks have defensive linemen waiting to step in next year. Frank Clark is hitting his prime. There will be more draft picks. The defense is in great shape. I would hardly call it a priority. More like one of the many spots that need continuous renewal.

      Most needed are a left tackle, a big wide receiver, a durable running back, and a decent backup QB.

      • Hawk Eye

        I would think guard and TE are bigger priorities for next draft, along with WR and LB. Joekel is ok, but not great and injury prone, too expensive for what he is. Hopefully Pocic takes one spot, and hopefully Glow is not at the other. Fant is coming back and I think they plan on him being the LT. Would I like a better back up plan. YES! But JS is not taking my calls…..
        Willson and JG are free agents, so TE may be a need. Richardson is a free agent and Lockett has 1 year left, who knows what Darboh is yet. But a good, big WR who can catch and block would be nice. Garvin and Whilhote are FA’s, and they need a decent young LB to eventually take over for KJ.

  6. Greg Haugsven

    Health is for sure the most important thing. I could see him and Earl having a retirement discussion. Carson could be a comeback IR candidate as well.

  7. Aaron

    Softy saying Brandon Albert is gonna decide to stay retired. Hawks likely going with Odhiambo/Tobin/Battle for a LT depth chart. Fant is their guy long term imo and Odhiambo is their best option available after Fant’s injury.

  8. Nick

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see them be quite aggressive with WR in this draft. Doug is great, but he is on the back end of his career and Tyler and PRich are coming into contract situations. I could see them drafting one with their first pick in this draft.

    • icb12

      Doug Baldwin on the back end of his career??
      You can’t possibly be serious…

  9. drewdawg11

    I take it the Duane Brown rumors aren’t going to come to fruition? Too bad, really. A quality LT is something you go all out for. Joe Thomas is another guy, but the team’s jab to be willing to deal.

  10. House

    Cliff Avril: The dude is such a hardnose player and a genuinely good guy. I pray for him to find peace/good health in the recovery process. We definitely need guys like him around.

    OT: Very interesting take. Rob you make a great point in teams paying this past offseason. I’m still blown away that guys like Okung got such BIG contracts. Market price is dictated by supply and demand and the need for the blindside protector will always be there.

    I think the Brown and Albert situation was about best “bang for the buck”. Houston clearly wasn’t going to just give Brown away and appeasing him with a contract could’ve proven difficult. I am surprised by the Albert situation. I can only assume he has a number in his head and we couldn’t touch that number. Odhiambo has done an admirable job and we always want to see “better”. Tobin screams Swing tackle backup and Battle has upside. From scouting reports I’ve read from the ’15 Supplemental draft, all of them mention his issues with “hard coaching”. I’m interested to see what happens to him.

  11. Ed

    This team may take a real hard fall off the cliff. JS needs another real great draft. PC could jump ship if this slides in the next year or two.




    Bennett (age)
    Avril (age)
    Sherman (contract)
    Chancelor (age)
    Wright (contract)
    Wagner (contract)
    Graham (contract)
    Lacy/Rawls (injuries/contract)

    • Ukhawk

      Shows just how tough it is to ‘win forever’

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think it’s quite as dramatic as that. This team has a franchise QB, a good core. They’re not all going to fall away at the same time. And as those contracts run down it’ll create cap space. Plus new stars are emerging — eg Frank Clark, Sheldon Richardson, Shaq Griffin.

      • Ed

        Agreed, those are the names I put as pros. But the needs for this team could be dramatic next year.

        No Rb’s
        OL still unsettled
        Outside of DB, no real receiving threat
        Don’t see them keeping JG
        Both LB are nearing end of 2nd contract, do they get a third
        MB and CA, if they stay, need a lot less snaps

        The lack of quality drafts since the first few has really put a big ? as to how good this team can remain. The good part is the other 3 in the division. While they are not as bad as the Jets/Dolphins/Bills have been the last 15 years, it helps a little

        • Greg Haugsven

          I could see Bennet and Avril both gone after 2018. If the resign Richardson and extend Clark the writing is on the wall. They would have lower 2018 cap hits that would jump in 2019.

          Wagner is still early in his contract.

          Chancellor is aging

          If we let Graham walk I don’t think that’s a big deal. Luke is a poor man’s Graham.

          Sherman and Wright will for sure be very interesting.

          The RB position is a concern, I like Robs idea of Prosise being the guy because our team was dynamic with him on the field but as of now he is glass joe.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I view it as a slow slide downhill. When you think about it, the key factor to the Superbowl visits was a great QB on a rooky contract, and some good draft picks. Once you pay the QB 23 million, you have directly impacted 3 offensive linemen – or other positions with skills.

      • vrtkolman

        In this day and age it’s more like 2 lineman, but yeah your point still stands.

  12. Logan Lynch

    Just did my usual practice photo snooping. Nothing earth shattering, but 2 small nuggets:

    1) There were 2 separate photos of the OL going through some team drills. Both had Pocic at LG. I tend to agree with something I saw Hawkblogger post earlier this week that the team likely wants Pocic to win that job, but may not want to overwhelm him right away and may rotate Glow in there this week. Pocic could play more extensively next week at home against HOU.

    2) Darboh was wearing a small brace on his left wrist. He hasn’t been listed on the practice report, so maybe he just wears it for support? Can’t remember seeing it before though.

    There have also been a good number of David Moore pics this week too, including one of him, Lockett, and McKissic. KR/PR work most likely. It would be pretty neat if he developed.

    Final side note, Battle has a good build for LT. Whether he can play is another story that I can’t tell from pics.

    • C-Dog

      Makes sense on Pocic. Carroll mentioned him a few weeks ago as a player that they are really fortunate to have. He spent a ton of training camp at RT, and only got thrown into the RG competition late. Stands to reason that that it’s taken him a while to pick things up at guard, especially on the left side when he’s been a right sided player primarily.

      What I noticed about Pocic, especially in the competition at RT, is that he seemed stronger in pass pro than run blocking. It may have taken him a while to get up with Seattle’s style of run blocking on top of being the backup center, guard, and tackle. That’s a lot to put on a rookie’s plate.

      I wonder if the call up Joey Hunt to be the backup center so that Pocic can take that off his plate.

  13. AndrewP

    Not to be Debbie Downer, but… Hadn’t Schueltz kind of been torpedoed as a reliable source in the 6 mos? I don’t remember the incident, but, I feel like I remember his reporting something and getting completely called out for it being fake. Maybe I’m ‘mis-remembering’, and if so, I will gladly tuck my tail on this one, b/c I would love to have Mr. Avril continuing to wreak havoc in the coming years.

    • Rob Staton

      Maybe so — but he’s not quoting an unnamed source here. He’s quoting Cliff Avril directly.

      • AndrewP

        Not denying a text exists, that would be a foolish thing to broadcast… But he could be using a very liberal interpretation of what Cliff did say.

        • Rob Staton

          Maybe — but whatever Schultz’s reporting chops are, it’s possible sometimes to dwell on these things too much. I don’t really have an opinion on him as a reporter but this seems like he passed on a text exchange that is reasonably believable.

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