Detroit Lions Training Camp: Top Five Position Battles

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Oct 25, 2013; Provo, UT, USA; Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Kyle Van Noy (3) attempts to rush around the block of Boise State Broncos offensive linesman Travis Averill (73) during the second half at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Brigham Young won 37-20. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

#1: Starting Strongside Linebacker

When Kyle Van Noy was selected by the Lions it was apparent that he would immediately step in as the starting SAM linebacker. Things having been going so well for him lately though, as he’s been dealing with a nagging back injury and has been sidelined for the majority of OTAs and mandatory camps.

Ashlee Palmer was the starting OLB opposite of DeAndre Levy last year, and he isn’t ready to hand over the job to Van Noy just yet. Although Palmer has experience as a starting OLB for the Lions, this year is going to be entirely different for him. For instance, with defensive coordinator Teryl Austin’s new system, there will be more blitzing from the SAM linebacker, something Palmer isn’t used to doing.

Regardless of who wins the starting job, I’m betting that we’ll see more 4-3 looks this year and less nickel packages with a bevy of blitzing linebackers.

Early Prediction: Kyle Van Noy is your starting strongside linebacker across from DeAndry Levy.