Cliff Avril had already accomplished enough in the first eight seasons of his career to call 2016 breakout year, but it is safe to say that in his ninth NFL season, Avril did start receiving some long-overdue credit for his play.
After recording a career-best 11.5 sacks in 2016, Avril earned Pro-Bowl honors for the first time, and on Monday Avril added another first, being named to the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2017. Avril checked in at No. 56—his jersey number coincidentally—on the list, which is voted on by fellow NFL players.
"We've seen his play be so on in a lot of different ways, whether it's rushing the passer, pressuring, or getting his sacks, or knocking balls loose, or knocking balls down, he's just been a great factor, and in the running game too," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said during the season. "He has played beautiful football… I think he's just had a great year, everything has fit together and he's playing like crazy. I'm really fired up for him."
Avril, who was also the Seahawks' nominee for the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, has made a big difference off the field as well as on it over the past year. Avril recently made a second trip to Haiti, his parents' home country, where he is helping build a school, and while there he also visited the houses that were built because he pledged to fund one house for every sack he recorded in 2016.
Avril is the second Seahawks player to crack this year's Top 100, joining Pro Bowl receiver Doug Baldwin, who checked in at No. 88 on the list. Seattle had six players named to the Top 100 list a year ago, so look for more Seahawks to show up as the Top 50 is revealed in coming weeks.
Here are the players ranked No. 60 through 51 that were announced Monday:
60. Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys, WR
59. Josh Norman – Washington Redskins, CB
58. Zack Martin – Dallas Cowboys, OG
57. Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers, QB
56. Cliff Avril – Seattle Seahawks, DE
55. Ndamukong Suh – Miami Dolphins, DT
54. Janoris Jenkins – New York Giants, CB
53. Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders, WR
52. Gerald McCoy – Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DT
51. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts, QB
For a third year in a row, Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril and his Cliff Avril Family Foundation put together a team for Nordstrom's 35th annual Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes run/walk to help raise funds for those impacted by Type 1 diabetes.