February 26, 2008
Avril making impression
INDIANAPOLIS - Cliff Avril was drawing some attention prior to his workout at the NFL Combine in the RCA
The former Purdue defensive end's performance in workout drills will do nothing to turn away any of those
"I'm really excited to see him on film,"? said Hall of Fame linebacker and San Francisco assistant coach Mike
Singletary. I've been so busy looking at the free agents, we haven't had a chance to zero in on the college
The Chicago Bears' legend, however, was on the staff that coached Avril at the Senior Bowl earlier this
He's a hard working kid that has a great motor," Singletary said.
Avril spent most of his last two seasons at Purdue as a defensive end. It'ss likely he will make the move to outside linebacker in the NFL, much like former Purdue standouts Anthony Spencer, Shaun Phillips and Rosevelt Colvin.
At the combine, Avril went through drills with the defensive lineman and linebackers.
That was by the desire of NFL teams, whom can request which players they want to see run drills for more
than one position.
"I've talked to teams that employ both the 4-3 and the 3-4 defenses," Avril said. "Both seem interested. I'm not sure if there is one in particular that I'll be doing, but I feel comfortable I could do both."
Avril drew rave reviews on the NFL Network's broadcast of the combine workout on Monday, which was closed to
media and spectators.
"Did you see that transition? It was beautiful,"? analyst Charles Davis said during the telecast of Avril during a
lateral movement drill. "You can see the linebacker in him."
As far as Avril is concerned, it's those movement drills that coaches were watching the most.
"You want to see if he can drop,"? Singletary said. "That's probably the first thing that comes to mind 'can
the kid drop back into coverage.'"
During his workout, Avril ran a 4.51 40-yard dash, the second-fastest among all defensive linemen and
He also has the fastest time among all defensive linemen in the 3-cone drill, running it in 6.91 seconds.
Anything under seven seconds in the cone drill, for Avril's positions, is considered to be in the
By comparison, former Purdue standout and current Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer ran the drill in 7.14 seconds at last year's combine.
Unlike Spencer, though, Avril has experience playing linebacker as a freshman and sophomore. Some scouts
have called Avril a "tweaner" player, but the Boilermaker takes that as a compliment.
"It means your versatile and can play both positions," Avril said. "Those guys are usually talented. I try
to live up to that."
Much like Purdue's offensive coaches in attendance at the combine were peppered with questions about Dustin Keller, Boilermakers defensive coordinator Brock Spack spent time talking with NFL personnel about Avril.
"I get a lot of questions about Avril because he can play linebacker or defensive end,"? Spack said. "He fits
in well with what they do in the NFL and I think he'll be a high draft pick."
Avril's former teammate, linebacker Stanford Keglar, also had an outstanding performance at the combine.
Keglar had the top performance of all linebackers in four drills â€" the bench press (29 reps), 3-cone drill
(6.7), 20-yard shuttle (3.98) and 60-yard shuttle (11.43). He was also second in the broad jump (10-6).
Keglar ran a 4.58 40-yard dash and had a mark of 39-8 in the vertical jump drill.
Itâ€™s a performance Avril expected.
â€œStanford is a heck of an athlete,â€? Avril said. â€œI think a lot of people are sleeping on him.â€?
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