When the Detroit Lions drafted DeAndre Levy in the third round of the 2009 draft I remember thinking, “who?!” and like most others I assumed the Lions reached to get him. Levy has since proved to be one of Martin Mayhew’s best draft choices. He had his best season in 2011, recording 109 tackles as the Lions made the playoffs for the first time. Oddly enough the Lions are seemingly on the path back to the playoffs and DeAndre Levy is off to another career season.
However, unlike the 2011 campaign this year DeAndre Levy seems to have found a knack for being around the ball and getting interceptions — 4 interceptions and 49 tackles through 6 games.
I’m just trying to get to the ball and when the ball is near, try to be around it and make something happen.
Levy is currently Pro Football Focus’ highest rated coverage linebacker with a 7.6 overall coverage grade. To put that in perspective, that’s a better coverage grade than Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson, and Joe Haden. Now, obviously covering receivers as a cornerback is different than covering tight ends and running backs as a linebacker. That’s not a true comparison, but the point is made — Levy is playing some outstanding football right now. Sure, he could play better against the run, but look at it this way: according to PFF not one 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL has overall positive grades against both the run and pass, so Levy’s not alone.
The truth is that DeAndre Levy has become one of the better outside linebackers in the NFL this season. No two plays better demonstrate the type of player Levy’s become than the two interceptions he had on Sunday.
DeAndre Levy’s Interceptions vs. Cleveland
The Lions come out on 3rd and 4 with one deep safety and man coverage across the field. DeAndre Levy lines up just outside of Ndamukong Suh who is lined up at defensive end.
From the snap, Levy runs stride for stride with Cleveland Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya. Because of the pressure put on by Suh, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden is forced to toss the ball up for grabs.
And grab it, he did. This is about as pretty of an interception as you can get. DeAndre Levy turns his body, high points the ball, and secures the catch as if he were the receiver rather than the defender. As Levy explains, “(The first one) was a wheel route and we were in man coverage. I kind of anticipated it and walked up on the line and just kind of leaned into him, turned around and got it.”