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Lions Free Agency 2012: Cliff Avril The Headliner Of Detroit Free Agent Class

The Detroit Lions have a big class of unrestricted free agents in 2012, and the headliner of the group is undoubtedly star defensive end Cliff Avril.

In a year where the Lions had an absolutely beastly defensive line, Avril was arguably the biggest shining star on it, ending the year with 38 tackles and a whopping 11 sacks, along with six forced fumbles and even an interception. Since being drafted in 2008, Avril has improved every year and will likely continue to do so as he continues to grow as a football player -- he is only 25 years old, after all.

There is, of course, still a chance that Avril is going to get the franchise tag slapped on him by the Lions, though no real news positive or negative has come out in that regard in a while.

The rest of the free agent class for Detroit is mostly role players like backup QB Shaun Hill -- who is very likely to come back and continue to be Matthew Stafford's number two -- and OT Jeff Backus, who is likely to be pushed out by a new tackle signing in the NFL draft if they decide to bolster the offensive line. With a whopping 20 UFA's from the Lions out there, it won't be surprising to see a large handful being brought back into Detroit to try and build upon the strong year that the team had in 2011.

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