Detroit Lions roster review: Linebacker

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

A look back at how the Detroit Lions' linebackers performed in 2013.

As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2013. Next, let's take a look at the Detroit Lions' linebackers.

DeAndre Levy - 16 games (16 starts) | 119 tackles, 8 TFL, 15 PD, 6 INT, 0 FF, 0 FR, 1 TD

Levy put together a career season and was one of the Lions' top overall players in 2013. He became an interception machine, and if not for an untimely penalty by Ndamukong Suh on one of his picks, Levy would have had two touchdowns last season. Generally speaking, he really took a big step forward as a linebacker, and the Lions definitely made the right move by re-signing him over Justin Durant last year.

Stephen Tulloch - 16 games (16 starts) | 135 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 8 TFL, 2 PD, 1 INT, 0 FF, 0 FR

Tulloch had a pretty solid season. He once again led the Lions in tackles, and he recorded a career high in sacks with 3.5. Tulloch was only able to produce a single turnover, but he was one of the Lions' top defenders in 2013.

Ashlee Palmer - 16 games (10 starts) | 33 tackles, 6 TFL, 1 PD, 0 FF, 1 FR

Palmer was technically a starter at outside linebacker for the Lions, but you wouldn't necessarily know that by looking at his snap counts. The Lions were in the nickel so much last season that Palmer was barely even on the field during certain games. And even when the Lions were a bit more balanced between their 4-3 look and nickel package, it's not like Palmer was playing nearly every snap in games. He was more of a situational player than a starter in 2013, and I suppose his stats reflect that.

Rocky McIntosh - 16 games (0 starts) | 15 tackles, 1 TFL, 0 PD, 0 FF, 0 FR

McIntosh was mainly a special teams guy, although he made a few key plays on defense over the course of the season. In that regard, he was nice to have as extra depth at linebacker. The Lions were able to keep him on special teams for the most part, but if they needed an extra linebacker, he was always seemingly ready to come in and make a play.

Tahir Whitehead - 16 games (0 starts) | 9 tackles, 0 TFL, 0 PD, 1 FF, 0 FR

Whitehead was strictly a special teams player for the Lions in 2013. He did a good enough job that his teammates voted him the special teams MVP, and that's obviously a good thing. As a defensive player, though, he was unable to beat out Palmer for the starting job at left outside linebacker in training camp, and at this point the chances of him developing into a regular contributor on defense don't seem great. Then again, perhaps that will change with a new position coach and defensive coordinator in 2014.

Travis Lewis - 12 games (0 starts) | 6 tackles, 0 TFL, 0 PD, 0 FF, 0 FR

Lewis was also strictly a special teams guy, but he didn't receive the same kind of accolades as Whitehead. Actually, Lewis was suspended for the final four games of the season after violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, so the lack of accolades was no surprise. He really needs to improve this offseason to remain on the team going forward.

Julian Stanford - 4 games (0 starts) | 3 tackles, 0 TFL, 0 PD, 0 FF, 0 FR

Stanford was brought in toward the end of the year to fill a hole on special teams following Lewis' suspension. He made 3 tackles in the final quarter of the season, and there's not really much else to say about him beyond that.

Cory Greenwood - 0 games (0 starts)

The Lions claimed Greenwood off waivers last offseason, and he had an excellent first couple weeks of training camp. Unfortunately, an injury resulted in him landing on IR, and he missed the entire 2013 season. If healthy in 2014, Greenwood could be a threat for a roster spot based on his abilities on special teams.

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

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