Detroit Lions Midseason Grades: Linebacker Report Card

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Tahir Whitehead

Aug 15, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Cooper (88) against Detroit Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead (59) at FirstEnergy Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports


Whitehead had a shot at a starting spot in training camp, but lost out to Ashlee Palmer. Now he’s on special teams, where he has four tackles, two missed tackles, and two penalties. Not great.

Grade: D-


The Lions are hoping Whitehead’s true impact days are ahead of him. Right now, he’s a zero-impact special teamer waiting for his shot to eventually play in the defense.

Grade: D

Vs. Expectations

The Lions didn’t trade a fourth-round pick to Minnesota in 2012 to draft a below-average special teams player. They were hoping for an eventual starter, and Whitehead, at least midway through his second season, isn’t nearly ready. There’s still time for him, though. Fifth-round picks aren’t expected to be instant-impact starters.

Grade: D+


It’s disappointing that Whitehead hasn’t grown into a role with the defense yet, especially given the open competition for the spot in training camp. It’s equally disappointing that he isn’t playing especially well on special teams. But he’s a 23-year-old player in his second year. Don’t pull the plug on him just yet.

Grade: D+