Top 10 Lions Of 2012, No. 4: Stephen Tulloch

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 11: Stephen Tulloch #55 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a first quarter touchdown with teammates DeAndre Levy #54 and Corey Williams #99 while playing the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Pride of Detroit is counting down the top 10 Lions players of 2012, as voted on by readers of the site. More than 400 ballots were submitted, and today we are taking a look at the No. 4 player on the list.

No. 4 - LB Stephen Tulloch - 2,190 points

Despite not receiving a single first-place vote, the No. 4 player on the top 10 Lions of 2012 is linebacker Stephen Tulloch. He has only been with the Lions since last year, but he made a very positive impression on fans in that one season. He was included on 383 total ballots and ended up receiving 2,190 points. This was mainly thanks to the fact that he received a total of 244 votes for third, fourth or fifth.

At this time a year ago, the Lions' group of linebackers didn't look all that impressive. The NFL lockout was still going on, and when free agency eventually began, it was evident that the Lions needed to fill some of the holes that existed at the position. Tulloch was one of the free agents Lions fans wanted the most, but initially it didn't seem like he was going to end up signing with Detroit.

Surprisingly, shortly after things quieted down on the Tulloch front, he ended up signing a one-year deal worth $3.25 million with the Lions. The hope at the time was that Tulloch would ultimately end up signing something of the long-term variety with the Lions, and he did just that back in March of this year. Tulloch and the Lions agreed to a five-year deal worth $25.5 million, meaning Detroit has its starting middle linebacker in place for the foreseeable future.

The reason it was so important for the Lions to re-sign Tulloch this offseason is because of what he did in 2011. He started in all 16 games in the regular season and had 111 tackles, three sacks, five pass defenses, two interceptions and one touchdown. He became the quarterback of the defense and picked up where he left off from his days with the Tennessee Titans.

In 2012, the Lions will have all three of their starters at linebacker back. In addition to Tulloch, Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy are returning to the starting lineup, and the hope is that with a year together under their belt, they will take their game to a new level. If they do, you can bet Tulloch will be a big reason behind their success, which is why he was voted the No. 4 player on the top 10 Lions of 2012.

Top 10 Lions of 2012
1. WR Calvin Johnson (281) 4,370 points
2. QB Matthew Stafford (168) 4,259 points
3. DT Ndamukong Suh (4) 2,981 points
4. LB Stephen Tulloch 2,190 points
5. DE Cliff Avril (1) 2,014 points
6. TE Brandon Pettigrew 1,256 points
7. S Louis Delmas 1,230 points
8. WR Titus Young 1,024 points
9. K Jason Hanson (1) 750 points
10. RB Jahvid Best 747 points

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