Memphis’ Genard Avery is one of the more versatile linebacker prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Genard Avery is an intriguing 2018 NFL Draft prospect based on his ability to fill multiple roles. He is a defensive chess piece who can play as a traditional linebacker, rush the passer and drop in coverage. His skill set should also translate well on special teams.
Avery features a shorter frame with a stout build. He isn’t going to win any underwear Olympics, but this is someone who produces. Avery plays with a ton of passion and effort which is one of the reasons he is always around the ball.
His short area burst is another reason for his high level of production. Avery maintains his balance throughout the play. This helps him quickly reach full speed and close on the ball carrier.
He routinely attacks downhill and does a great job working through traffic. Despite his lack of length, Avery can deliver a jolt to the blocker and create some space. The problem is when the offensive lineman is able to get into his frame.
More from With the First Pick
- 2024 NFL Draft: Prospect Viewing Guide for Week 0
- 2024 NFL Draft: All Eyes On NFL Draft Defensive Prospects
- Player Spotlight: USC Safety Calen Bullock
- 2024 Senior Bowl Watchlist Announced
- 2024 NFL Draft: Florida State is Loaded with Prospect in 2023
Avery just doesn’t have the arm length or overall size to quickly disengage. This is why it’s important for Avery to use his quickness to work around blocks.
That quickness also helps Avery generate pressure on the quarterback. Memphis used his working off the edge and blitzing up the middle. When working off the edge, Avery shows the quickness and bend to flatten.
His lack of length will hurt his upside as a pass rusher, but he does a good job slapping away hands.
Avery profiles as a strong coverage linebacker. He has a natural feel in coverage and the burst to close on the ball. His activeness helps him get himself in proper position and into passing lanes.
Overall, there will be a strong market for Avery. His aggressiveness, athleticism and versatility are things all defensive coordinators covet. The biggest concern will surround his lack of length and how that impacts where he fits best on the field.