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Players the Jets could target in trades, Part 1: Genard Avery

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Genard Avery

DENVER BRONCOS VS DENVER BRONCOS, NFL Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Since the season has turned into a downward spiral from the offseason optimism, so I wanted to highlight (in a series) some possible players the Jets may have an interest in trading for. There will be no Jalen Ramsey’s or Melvin Gordon’s in this series. They would cost too much draft capital. The Jets are not two or three players away from greatness. Plus Sam Darnold needs a little more (a lot) of seasoning before the Jets could legitimately compete for a Playoff run. These will be bargain basement type trades with the Jets swapping players or players and Draft picks going back and forth.

There used to be very few player for player trades (like baseball) in the NFL in years past, but that trend is going to change in the next few seasons. College players are becoming much more NFL ready entering the league than in years past. That is not to say they are stars, but many positions have a good success rate of players being competent.

Teams and fans realize now how very valuable Draft picks are in the rookie salary cap era. You can get four inexpensive years of play from drafted players. Teams will trade picks at times. Yet those trades are usually done by teams with stacked rosters. Teams who are in serious talent building mode don’t want to part with picks.

As the season progresses there are less and less quality players available to pick up off the waiver wire because of the attrition caused by injuries. There are over 200 players already on the IR list, and the NFL is only through week three. Teams looking for long postseason runs are more likely to trade for a veteran player in an area of need. Players such as Leonard Williams, Robby Anderson, Steve McLendon, Josh Bellamy, Marcus Maye, Henry Anderson, Neville Hewitt or Tom Compton might be desirable for a needy team. The NFL trade deadline this year is October 29 which is right after the end of Week 8. Teams will have to decide before then if they are all in for the playoffs or not.

The players I target here are unappreciated players the Jets could get in a swap of players, a player and a pick, or a swap of picks. Either way, I will not suggest the Jets trade serious Draft capital the rest of the year. I would much rather receive picks than swap them. The Jets should be sellers, not buyers.

The first player I want to show you is a player I highlighted during the 2018 draft as an back half of the Draft steal for the Jets.

Genard Avery

He is a 6’ 0” 250 lbs ILB/OLB jack of all trades linebacker form the University of Memphis. He was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 5th round (#150 overall) in 2018. Avery played for Gregg Williams as a rookie and played well. He participated in 684 defensive snaps (58.11%) and saw action in all 16 games. He had 39 tackles (29 solo), 4.5 sacks, four passes defensed, five tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. His 4.5 sacks ranked tied for seventh among all NFL rookies even though he wasn’t a true rush linebacker.

In college Avery Played in 50 career games with 34 starts at Memphis, registering 232 tackles, seven pass breakups, four forced fumbles, two interceptions returned for touchdowns and one fumble recovery. He ranked third in Memphis history in sacks (21.5) and second in tackles for loss (45.5).

I was surprised that after was not a higher pick. I had him rated as a low 3rd or high 4th round pick. The reason I even had him that low was because he is a few inches shorter than I prefer, and he has poor length (31.0” arms).

His Combine stats were:

6’ 0’ 250 lbs

4.59/40

26 reps on the bench press

36.0” vert

124.0” broad jump

6.9 sec 3-cone

4.36 short shuttle

Those are all great numbers for a man his size. He shows speed, quickness and explosiveness. It is rare to find a player with all three of those traits.

OK enough of what I think. Let’s see it on the field. These are all NFL games

This is against Kansas City; Avery is #55 rushing from the top of the screen against #71 Mitchell Schwartz who is 6’ 5” 320 lbs. Avery is able to take advantage of the fact that Schwartz pops up too high in slide step which makes him off balance and top heavy.

Even with his short arms Avery is able to get his hands inside on the chest of Schwartz, pushing him back with ease into QB Mahomes lap and making the sack. You can see that just before he makes contact with Schwartz he dips down ever so slightly then explodes up to gain a huge leverage advantage against the big tackle. Once he makes contact, the tackle falls back three yards in less than a second to allow free access to Mahomes. This is making great use of his natural leverage factor (being 5” shorter than is opponent).

That sack he made with technique and power. On this next GIF Avery uses quickness and speed to overwhelm the right tackle, Bobby Hart of Cincinnati. This is no contest. The play is over very quickly.

Avery totally surprises Hart by getting such a quick start from a two point stance. Hart probably didn’t believe that Avery could get such a great jump and beat him to the edge while standing up. Also being only 6’ 0” gives Avery superior contact balance for an edge rusher. You can see that as Hart tries to push Avery from his selected path it does little to nothing to move him from his route.

This next play is against Pittsburgh in overtime of a game the Browns should have won. This time Avery beats Marcus Gilbert around the edge again from a two point stance. Avery gets a great jump off the snap on a muddy field then maintains his balance when he gets pushed outside by the big tackle.

Gilbert is no slouch as a tackle. He was one of only seven tackles to be graded above 80% in both run and pass blocking that year. He was traded to Arizona only because of a salary cap considerations and the fact that when he was injured (and out on suspension) the younger Chris Hubbard did a good job as well. Watch on this play as Avery (even though he slips) makes a tight 90 degree turn to quickly run down big Ben, making him pop the ball in the air so his team can intercept and bring it back into field goal range.

On this next play Avery is playing in space as an OLB, dropping back into zone coverage. He has a little tightness in his hips which precludes him from a lot of man to man coveragesm but when the ball is in front of him and he can see it, he can go get it.

Avery shows a good burst to go from a back peddle into a sprint. The Carolina TE Thomas is an excellent athlete but has little chance with Avery bearing down on him. I also like that Avery uses his shoulder and continues to drive his body through the receiver to get him on the ground. It was a sure tackle in an open space; well done.

The next clip Avery shows a patient aspect to a rush linebacker as he is trying to pressure DeShaun Watson on a 3rd and 4 play. You can see that all four rushing players stay in their lanes and don’t allow Watson to escape so he can run for a 1st down. Avery has to control the edge while also caving the pocket around Watson.

Once he sees Watson finally try and escape he has the wheels to run down the swift QB, making the tackle without drawing a flag. This is a Gregg Williams defense we are watching so Avery should be able to blend in right away if the Jets should be able to get him.

This last clip is my favorite by far in an all encompassing manor. This is a 3rd and 10 play. The Eagles send Zach Ertz out to chip Avery to give Lane Johnson a better shot of blocking the rusher. Avery just lays out Ertz who is a 6’ 5” 250 lbs TE, runs him over like he was a school boy, and attacks Johnson sending him reeling back into his own QB.

Avery then does the smart thing in using his eyes to find not only the QB but also the football. Many edge rusher are looking for the big hit. Avery is looking where the football is and knocks it from the hands of Nick Foles. You don’t see Lane Johnson manhandled like that often much less by a man much smaller than he is.

Avery made a lot of plays as a rookie, considering he played less than 60% of the defensive snaps.

Avery is still on the Browns but has played a total of two snaps so far this year. Why I don’t know, but you could say that new Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks doesn’t see the value in Avery the way Gregg Williams did.

Remember Avery was a rookie last year. He is just scratching the surface of what he can do. Avery Williamson was the SAM LB, but he is gone for the season. He also has no more guaranteed money left on his contract and will be coming back from a ACL tear. Genard Avery could possibly fill that void, and I believe he could also do well in coverage with his quickness and speed.

The Browns (I’m sure) consider themselves Playoff contenders since the Cincinnati is still Cincinnati, and the Steelers are without Big Ben for the rest of the year. If the Browns can get by the Ravens they can win the division, something they haven’t done since 1989. Avery is hanging on the back end of the roster, a 3rd team DE as is listed on their website. They have two LBs they drafted Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki ahead of him so it doesn’t seem like he will get much of a chance to make an impact.

It would be interesting to see how Joe Douglas values his players, which ones he is sure to keep and which he could use as trade bait. The Browns could probably use another deep threat receiver and a equitable trade could most likely be worked out.

The Browns also have a offensive guard/center who they drafted #33 overall last year, Austin Corbett from Nevada, who was supposed to become a starting guard this year but has since been bumped to a backup center position. I wonder if the Browns offered Avery, Corbett and a 5th round pick for Robby whether Joe Douglas would take it.

A move like that (and this is just supposition) would give the Browns another dynamic weapon (they would have to resign in 2020) and the Jets would pick up two young players who could do good things for them; plus a 5th or 6th round pick. The Jets could then bring up a speedy Josh Malone from the practice squad to replace Robby.

Like I said this is all just supposition because I have no idea how Joe Douglas feels about any player on the Jets. I’m sure he has notes on Avery and Corbett from his scouting days with the Eagles. Plus he has a coordinator to tell him about one of the players.

I will bring you more items like this in the coming weeks and months to show you some of the possible moves like this that can be made. We are just looking to increase the talent level on the team without giving away draft assets.

Let me know what you think...

and

GO JETS