Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow has agreed to sign with the Detroit Lions, per his agency. It was first reported that the Lions were interested in the 26-year-old linebacker on Sunday, and now it appears the two have agreed upon contract terms just before free agency begins. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press is reporting the deal is for a single year (corroborated by ESPN Josina Anderson):
It's a one-year deal for Worrilow, who was a starter with the Falcons for most of 2013-15— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 8, 2017
Worrilow will likely put some heat on the Lions’ starting linebackers, and could also compete for the lesser-used third linebacker position, which was previously held by free agent Josh Bynes.
With the Falcons, Worrilow got off to a quick start as an undrafted rookie in 2013. He totaled 127 tackles in 12 games his first year. Over the next two years, he started 31 games and picked up 237 tackles. However, Worrilow’s play on defense wasn’t at the level Atlanta wanted and he was essentially downgraded to a special teams role in 2016, starting in just a single game.
The Falcoholics had this to say about Worrilow hitting free agency:
He’s been a good contributor on special teams, but maxed out in his rookie year when he displaced an awful Akeem Dent. He’s frequently been the biggest liability on the defense.
This fits the mold of a Bob Quinn defender, specifically his special teams ability. The Lions’ special teams unit went from 14th to second under Quinn last year thanks largely to special teams signing like Johnson Bademosi and Andre Roberts.
But Worrilow could legitimately contend for a starting role in 2017 considering the questions surrounding the Lions current set of linebackers. DeAndre Levy has battled injuries and Tahir Whitehead struggled in a full time starting role in 2016. Antwione Williams, Steve Longa, Thurston Armbrister and Brandon Chubb will be fighting for a roster spot, but at this point in their respective careers, Worrilow has a leg up on all of them considering he has 44 starts under his belt.