When NFL free agency finally opens, the Detroit Lions are expected to make some calls to linebackers in an attempt to fill the holes that currently exist at the position. Right now only DeAndre Levy is locked in as a starter, and although guys like Bobby Carpenter and Ashlee Palmer could compete for starting jobs (once they are re-signed), the Lions could use a couple of new faces before the competition for the starting spots gets started.
One player that has commonly been mentioned as a possible target of the Lions is Tennessee's Stephen Tulloch, mainly because of the familiarity Jim Schwartz has with him. It's entirely possible Tulloch could end up in Detroit like many think, but Mike O'Hara reports that the Lions will actually make a run at Jacksonville's Justin Durant first.
A source familiar with the Lions’ plans said Durant rates ahead of Tulloch because of his athleticism and position flexibility. Durant can play outside and inside, which gives him the ability to be an every-down linebacker. Tulloch is strictly a middle linebacker.
Durant's versatility could be important because it would allow Levy to stay at middle linebacker. If Tulloch signed, Levy would likely be moved to one of the outside linebacker positions. That wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but a guy like Durant would give the Lions the flexibility to move multiple linebackers around in case injuries happen or just to mix things up.