The vast majority of the depth chart is already basically set for the Detroit Lions at linebacker. We know that Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy will be starters, and chances are Tahir Whitehead will start as well. This leaves Josh Bynes and Kyle Van Noy as the top two backups, and this leaves only one more spot at the position truly up for grabs based on how the 53-man roster will likely be constructed.
The first candidate worth mentioning for the sixth and likely final spot at linebacker is Travis Lewis. He has made the 53-man roster in each of the last three seasons based mainly on his special teams prowess. Special teams will really be the most important component when it comes to deciding the sixth linebacker on the roster, and Lewis has a pretty strong track record in that regard.
The same could be said about Julian Stanford, who has filled in for Lewis in recent years. Stanford took Lewis' spot at the end of the 2013 season when Lewis was hit with a four-game suspension, and Stanford was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster last season after Lewis went down with what turned out to be a season-ending injury.
The third main candidate for the sixth spot at linebacker, Brandon Copeland, is really the most intriguing player of the bunch. I say that because he is more of an unknown than Lewis and Stanford, and I also say that because Copeland earned a contract with the Lions after an impressive performance at the Veteran Combine this offseason. 12 teams were reportedly interested in Copeland following the Veteran Combine, and he ultimately decided to sign with the Lions.
Who has the edge right now?
Based on how roster cuts went last year, Lewis is the frontrunner at this point. Granted, a lot could change this summer if Stanford improves and with Copeland now in the mix, but if the past is any indication, the Lions feel pretty good about what Lewis can do on special teams. Based on that, he's the safe bet for the No. 6 spot at linebacker right now.
Previously: Backup quarterback, starting running back, No. 4 running back, starting fullback, No. 3 wide receiver, No. 4 offensive tackle, starting left guard, starting center, No. 3 defensive end, second starting defensive tackle, starting strongside linebacker