Our latest series on the Detroit Lions roster continues with a comparison of the linebacker position from 2012 to 2013. Did the Lions improve at linebacker? Let's take a look.
2012 LBs: Stephen Tulloch, DeAndre Levy, Justin Durant, Ashlee Palmer, Travis Lewis, Tahir Whitehead, Doug Hogue
2013 LBs: Stephen Tulloch, DeAndre Levy, Ashlee Palmer, Travis Lewis, Tahir Whitehead, Brandon Hepburn, Carmen Messina, Cory Greenwood, Jon Morgan, Alex Elkins
The Lions had a pretty uneventful offseason at linebacker. There weren't any notable additions, and they decided to let free agent Justin Durant depart for the Dallas Cowboys. As a result, they have two returning starters (Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy) and one starting spot that will have to be filled in training camp.
Did they improve?
It's entirely possible that Ashlee Palmer, Travis Lewis or Tahir Whitehead could be just as good as Durant was for the Lions. However, I don't see any improvement at this position. The Lions didn't go out and sign or draft somebody who will be a clear upgrade at linebacker, and on paper, there isn't more talent than last year.
What about compared to 2011?
2011 LBs: Stephen Tulloch, DeAndre Levy, Justin Durant, Ashlee Palmer, Bobby Carpenter, Isaiah Ekejiuba, Doug Hogue
The Lions' group of linebackers was really solid in 2011. The starters were excellent, and the Lions had great backups in Palmer and Bobby Carpenter. They also had a Pro Bowl-caliber special teams player in Isaiah Ekejiuba. There does not seem to be any improvement from 2011 to now.
(Note: Players listed from 2011 and 2012 are based on the Lions' Week 1 roster in those seasons.)