It wasn’t the blockbuster trade Eagles fans were eagerly awaiting, but the Eagles did make one move on Monday afternoon, trading a 2021 draft pick to the Browns for second-year player Genard Avery.
According to NFL reporter Chris Mortensen, the Eagles traded away a fourth-round pick in 2021, which sounds like a steep price for a player who has played just five defensive snaps this season.
The @Eagles loved Genard Avery in 2018 draft as a developmentant edge rusher who had explosiveness and toughness playing for Memphis. Avery ranked high among rookies with QB pressures. The @Browns have depth and were able to get 4th rd pick in 2021, per sources.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 28, 2019
So what exactly are the Eagles getting in Avery? And why were they willing to part with a fourth-round pick to get him?
Well, it is definitely worth noting that the Eagles announced the trade for Avery by calling him a defensive end. At 6-0, 250 pounds, Avery is the shortest and lightest defensive end on the Eagles roster. While he was an outside linebacker in Cleveland, Avery is likely going to be a sub rusher in Philly.
Avery actually had a really promising rookie season in Cleveland. After they drafted him in the fifth round out of Memphis, Avery played in 16 games with five starts. He had 4 1/2 sacks as a rookie, but a scheme change took away his role and made him tradeable. He still has two more years under contract after this season, so it isn’t like they’re renting him.
It’ll definitely be interesting to see how the Eagles use Avery and to see how quickly he earns playing time. The Eagles start Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham and then have Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat as their next two DEs off the bench, while rookie Shareef Miller hasn’t played.
Here’s a closer look at every sack from Avery’s rookie season and a few hustle plays that the Eagles probably loved.
This was Avery’s first NFL game and his first NFL sack came late in overtime. This play gave the ball back to the Browns, who should have beaten the Steelers in the OT with a field goal, but they did Browns things and had the kick blocked.
But with 48 seconds left in OT, Avery got a great jump and used a speed rush with impressive bend to get around veteran Marcus Gilbert. He forced Ben Roethlisberger up into the pocket and then delivered the hit to force the ball free. An impressive start to his career.
This next play comes in his fourth game. Avery lines up on the left side of the line and gets chipped by the TE. Not a great play from the Oakland left tackle, but give Avery credit for stopping on a dime, using his hands and coming back to the ball and Derek Carr. Avery shared this sack with Myles Garrett.
The next sack came in Week 9 against the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. This time, Avery is working against longtime veteran and former All-Pro tackle Mitchell Schwartz. This is a little Brandon-Graham-like bowling ball action from Avery. He uses his natural leverage (a fancy term Jim Schwartz uses for short) and shows off some impressive power for someone his size.
Now, go ahead and give a tip of the cap to Garrett, who ran through the left tackle while getting held to force Mahomes into Avery. But give Avery credit, too; he cleaned up.
This sack against the Texans in Week 12 was an impressive combination of power and speed from the rookie. It was pressure from Avery’s side that forced Deshaun Watson to slide in the pocket. But watch when Watson tries to take off … Avery is able to get him to the ground. Even though Watson was off-balance, it looked like he was about to recover until Avery got to him.
Avery’s final sack of his rookie season came on a speed chop move, but the impressive thing here is just how quickly he turned that corner. He took a somewhat circuitous route to the QB, but still arrived in 3.54 seconds, according to NFL NextGen Stats. There was pressure from a teammate here, but again, Avery cleaned up.
The pass rush was solid as a rookie, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
But here are a few plays the Eagles surely loved. The Eagles are big on effort and high-motor players. These types of plays show up quite a bit for Avery:
He’s on the left side of the line here for this receiver screen. The Steelers were probably OK leaving him unblocked and getting blockers set up over there for the screen, but Avery gets there in a hurry to thwart the play.
On this screen play, Avery is actually the closest player to the quarterback. When the running back catches the ball, Avery is 5 yards behind him and turned the wrong way. But he sticks with the play and eventually makes the tackle 15 yards down the field.
But that’s nothing compared to this next play.
This time, he’s on the right side of the line. The RB is just out of his reach, but Avery sticks with the play and ends up making the tackle over 50 yards (!) downfield.
The Eagles’ top two defensive ends — Barnett and Graham — are known for their motors and it looks like Avery will fit right in.
Was it too much to give up a fourth-round pick for Avery? Time will tell. But it’s not hard to figure out why the Eagles liked him.
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