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2017 Detroit Lions roster review: Will Paul Worrilow be the veteran linebacker again in 2018?

Will the Lions bring back Paul Worrilow for another season? We investigate.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Our 2017 roster review will reexamine the Lions’ roster and how it played out last season. We’ll take a look at expectations, performance and potential role in the future.

Today, we continue our discussion with Detroit Lions linebacker Paul Worrilow.

Paul Worrilow

Expectations before 2017

After a disastrous 2016 season from the Detroit Lions linebackers, the bar was set incredibly low for 2017. That being said, there were plenty of people worried about what Worrilow’s role would be with the team this season. Once the Lions cut ties with DeAndre Levy and replaced him with a player who Falcons fans said “gets roasted in coverage by even marginal athletes at RB and TE,” there were some major concerns that Worrilow could possibly make Detroit’s linebacking squad even worse in 2017.

However, the Lions then drafted Jarrad Davis in the first round, and it was clear Worrilow would have a subdued role on defense and could potentially be more of a leader in the locker room and special teams guy on the field.

Actual role in 2017

2017 stats: 13 games (8 starts): 30 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 1 pass defended, 1 fumble recovery
PFF Grade: 60.1 (did not play enough stats to qualify for ranking)

Though Worrilow started half of the games in 2017, his role wasn’t quite as big as that suggests. He only played in about 30 percent of snaps, just 40 more snaps than fourth-round rookie Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

Worrilow’s play was as advertised by Falcons fans or, in other words, not so good. Early on, he looked lost in Teryl Austin’s defense, and after suffering a Week 4 injury, the Lions pulled back his workload in favor of their younger options. Worrilow, like the linebacker that came before him, struggled particularly in coverage.

Outlook for 2018

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent

Worrilow’s play in 2017 certainly didn’t warrant another contract in Detroit, but the Lions also have a roster problem at linebacker: They have no veterans signed in 2018. The oldest linebacker under contract is Cam Johnson (27)—a player that has only made nine career starts and wasn’t even with the team before he signed to a futures contract earlier this month. Starting outside linebacker Tahir Whitehead is actually a month older than Worrilow, but he is also set to become a free agent and may not be back next season.

That is all to say that Worrilow could still potentially have a role in Detroit, should the Lions want him back. His play on the field wouldn’t suggest that he’s needed back with the team, but general manager Bob Quinn and new head coach Matt Patricia will have to decide whether his locker room/veteran presence and special teams value is worth a small contract. (For reference sake, Worrilow signed a one-year, $3 million contract in 2017.

Previously: DE Dwight Freeney, LB Tahir Whitehead , DE Ezekiel Ansah, S Tavon Wilson, CB Nevin Lawson, LS Don Muhlbach


Should the Lions re-sign Paul Worrilow?

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