Detroit Lions roster review: Linebacker

Hannah Foslien

A look back at how the Detroit Lions' linebackers performed in 2012.

As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2012. Next up is our look at the Detroit Lions' linebackers.

Stephen Tulloch - 16 games (16 starts) | 112 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 6 pass defenses, 0 INT, 1 FF, 2 FR

Fresh off of his new deal from last offseason, Tulloch put together a pretty solid 2012 as the Lions' middle linebacker. He led the team in tackles, and he had the most pass defenses of all the linebackers on the team. He also had a pair of fumble recoveries, and in general he excelled as the quarterback of the defense.

DeAndre Levy - 14 games (13 starts) | 81 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 3 pass defenses, 1 INT, 0 FF, 1 FR

I thought Levy had a decent season, although Pro Football Focus isn't nearly as kind. He was graded as the Lions' second-worst free agent for 2013 (ahead of only Cliff Avril), and he is toward the bottom of the list of linebacker free agents.

Justin Durant - 16 games (14 starts) | 103 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 3 pass defenses, 0 INT, 0 FF, 0 FR

Durant put together a pretty strong season, coming in second in tackles for the Lions behind Tulloch. His grade for 2012 on Pro Football Focus is much better than Levy's (-0.1 compared to -8.8), and I think Durant is the more likely of the two to be re-signed this offseason.

Ashlee Palmer - 16 games (2 starts) | 24 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 0 pass defenses, 0 INT, 1 FF, 0 FR

Palmer had an outstanding 2012 season, as evidenced by the contract extension he received from the Lions. He showed he is capable of starting at linebacker when he filled in for Levy, and he was one of the Lions' top special teams players. His excellent 2012 has put him in a position where he should be competing for a starting spot at linebacker next summer.

Tahir Whitehead - 14 games (0 starts) | 10 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 0 pass defenses, 0 INT, 1 FF, 0 FR

Whitehead's rookie season saw him play almost exclusively on special teams. He should get a chance for more playing time on defense in 2013.

Travis Lewis - 13 games (0 starts) | 3 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 0 pass defenses, 0 INT, 0 FF, 0 FR

Lewis is in the same situation as Whitehead. He played mostly special teams in 2012, but with players potentially leaving during free agency, he should have more of a chance to play on defense in 2013.

Previously: Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard, center, defensive end, defensive tackle

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