2015 Detroit Lions Roster Analysis: Linebackers

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Sep 21, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch (55) during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

No. 55 Stephen Tulloch

Age: 30

Height: 5-foot-11

College: North Carolina State

2014 was not the type of season Stephen Tulloch was hoping to have. While it started off great, it came to a abrupt end in the form of a season ending ACL tear while celebrating a sack on Aaron Rodgers. Tulloch is now healed and ready to return to his middle linebacker in 2015.

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What he’s done in the past – Stephen Tulloch has long been the leader, (and captain) of this Lions defense and in the metro Detroit community for that matter. Tulloch was originally drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 NFL Draft, and would eventually sign with Detroit in 2011. During his first year with the Lions he started all 16 games, recording 111 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. Since then he has remained a focal point of this squad and will remain that way moving forward.

Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

What he needs to do moving forward – There was some uncertainty earlier this offseason about whether the Lions would hold onto Tulloch because he has a $5.8 million cap hit for the 2015 season.

Some felt that the man who replaced him in the lineup last season, Tahir Whitehead, had played well enough that Detroit should let Tulloch go and start the cheaper Whitehead at middle linebacker.

A few weeks ago I actually detailed that thought in at great length, citing Tulloch’s leadership abilities as underrated and the main source for his return in 2015.

You can read the full article here: “Is Stephen Tulloch the most undervalued member of the Detroit Lions Roster?”

Tulloch had this to say about the upcoming football season, via DetroitLions.com:

"“To be honest with you, I feel great,” Tulloch said, via the team’s website. “If I had to play today I could definitely play — a little over six and a half months, seven months in May [since ACL surgery]. I feel good. I feel blessed to have Dr. [James] Andrews work on me and put me back together. I have a good team of people down in Miami that take care of me. They’ve gotten me back to a point I can train with the team. I can lift weights and run around. It feels good to be back out there again.”"

The return of Tulloch means the Lions have a deep group of linebackers to start the season with. Tully needs to simply continue to do what he’s good at, leading this team. With him back as the “quarterback” of this defense, it’s hard not to get excited.

Next: Kyle Van Noy