Cliff Avril rumors: Colts considered frontrunners for Lions pass rusher

USA TODAY Sports

The Colts are reportedly the favorites to land free agent pass rusher Cliff Avril. After five years at defensive end with Detroit, Avril could be asked to stand up in Indy's 3-4 defense.

Former Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril may soon be joining the Indianapolis Colts, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Avril will become a free agent at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday after he was unable to reach a long-term deal with the Lions after playing the 2012 season under the team's franchise tag.

Avril would give the Colts a solid pass-rushing boost with Dwight Freeney unlikely to re-sign. Avril had 20.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles over his last two seasons with the Lions. He dropped to 9.5 sacks last season from 11 in 2011, but Avril would be hard-pressed not to help a team that ranked 23rd in the NFL with just 32 sacks last season.

Avril also already has a well-established fanbase in Indiana. He earned second-team All-Big Ten with the Purdue Boilermakers in 2007 before being drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

Stampede Blue: Avril > Kruger

Though he played primarily at defensive end in the Lions' 4-3 defense, there is a chance that he will be asked to stand up at times as a linebacker in a similar role as Freeney in the Colts' 3-4 defense. Avril has said that he isn't opposed to the idea, though he has spent his five years in the NFL so far playing mostly with his hand down.


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