The sight of a Purdue players getting taken with this high a pick might make MasterRWayne's brain explode! But, it is very possible the Colts could use their second round pick of Purdue Cliff Avril, especially if teams who run a 3-4 defense, like Miami and Jets, pass on him. Though I'm sure it pains MasterRWayne to acknowledge this, the fact of the matter is Purdue produces better football players than IU, and Avril is one in a long line of excellent Purdue pass rushers to hit the NFL.
First and foremost, should the Colts draft Avril they would do so with the notion he will play DE, not outside LBer. At first glance, Avril looks like only a situational pass rusher as a DE. Then again, so did Robert Mathis. Avril, like Mathis, is undersized at about 250 pounds, but Avril has a very strong upper body and long arms. This means he plays bigger than he actually is. If you go to NFL.com's Combine report of Avril, the Positives section is a mile long. Avril had a very impressive NFL Combine to go with his outstanding Senior season at Purdue.
The last part gave me a bit of a smile, especially when I think of Vince Young. Avril's talents are in harassing the QB and creating turnovers. He does an excellent job stripping the football from ball carriers, and shows exceptional speed off the edge. His footwork and initial step off the snap are scary good, and if not for his 250 pound frame, Avril would be a first rounder. Most scouts think he'd translate best as a 3-4 outside LBer, and by this they mean he'd be on the field for most downs. In a 4-3, he'd see the field on 3rd downs mostly. This is especially true in Indy where he will not start. However, Robert Mathis started out as a situational 4-3 rusher and developed into an every down player. Avril could have a similar development, and if we can learn anything from the Chris Clemons deal with Philly, teams will throw a ton of money at pass rushers, be they LBers or situational DEs.
Among Avril's other positives (and there are a great many) are his non-stop motor, intelligence, and desire to improve as a person and player:
The other element of Avril's game is his solid tackling. Though he seemed to have trouble wrapping up RBs Chris Wells and P.J. Hill, Avril is not known as a crappy tackler. He closes well at the point of attack, and when it comes to bringing the ball carrier down, Avril has shown excellent improvement throughout his college career:
For more on Cliff Avril, check out Off The Tracks.