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2018 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Pick LB Genard Avery at No. 150 in 5th Round

Cleveland takes their first linebacker of the draft in the fifth round.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With the 150th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected LB Genard Avery (6-1, 248 lbs, Memphis). It was the team’s only scheduled pick in the 5th round.

Scouting Reports

Here is a scouting report from CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler, who had a 4th-5th round grade on Avery.

A three-year starter at Memphis, Avery spent most of his collegiate career as the starting WILL linebacker, but finished his Memphis career as the “KAT” hybrid outside linebacker to utilize his rush skills – finished second in school history in career tackles for loss (45.5) and third in sacks (21.5). Avery is at his best as a downhill defender with his speed and toughness to attack, creating stopping power on clean-view tackle attempts. However, he has questionable instincts and twitch, often getting eaten up by blockers near the line of scrimmage. His pass rush skills and versatile experience are encouraging, but he is more of a blitzer than rusher right now with limited length and coverage skills. Overall, Avery has tweener traits and might struggle to find a home on defense, but his straight-line speed and competitive make-up could keep him on a roster as a special teamer while he fights for playing time on defense.

Here is what Pro Football Focus said about Avery:

Avery needs to be tied down to a position at the NFL level, after he played both inside linebacker and outside, edge rushing linebacker for Memphis. His strength has been pass-rushing to date, with solid run defense, while coverage has been a weakness, so he may naturally project to the edge. His immediate route to NFL playing time may be special teams while teams work out how best to deploy him on defense.

How He Fits the Browns

Cleveland is already pretty set with their three starting linebackers (Jamie Collins, Christian Kirksey, and Joe Schobert). But the unit underwhelmed a bit last year and definitely needs more depth. Avery will try to provide a pass-rushing presence.

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