In part seven of the offseason position rankings, we look at the linebackers for the Detroit Lions and the rest of their NFC North rivals.
In today’s edition of the NFC North Position Rankings, we shift our focus behind the big guys up front, and back to what some would call the most important position on defense. So saddle up as we check out the linebackers for the Detroit Lions and the rest of the NFC North.
But first, be sure to check out all my previous divisional rankings below:
Detroit Lions, NFC North Position Rankings: Quarterbacks
Detroit Lions, NFC North Position Rankings: Running Backs
Detroit Lions, NFC North Position Rankings: Wide Receivers
Detroit Lions, NFC North Position Rankings: Tight Ends
Detroit Lions, NFC North Position Rankings: Offensive Line
Detroit Lions, NFC North Position Rankings: Defensive Line
As I mentioned last time, the linebackers and linemen get clumped together due to the different defensive schemes run through the division. So the teams that drew a short straw at the defensive line position are much better off today. Due to that, this is the first time we will be starting in Detroit.
4. Detroit Lions
Anybody that watched the Detroit Lions play last season shouldn’t be surprised with this choice. Their linebacking core suffered plenty of injuries, along with poor production from anybody on the field. This offseason they attempted to revamp, but unfortunately, that takes some time.
The only returning players that should be on the team this season are Tahir Whitehead and Antwoine Williams. Williams was only a rookie last season and played like one. This year he should only see time in emergency situations, which is where he needs to be at the moment.
Whitehead seemed to be a solid player a few seasons back, but since then hasn’t trended upward. He was horrendous in pass coverage last season, and but at least he was a solid tackler. Detroit has decided to move him back to outside linebacker this season, which should help revitalize him.
The reason Whitehead is going back outside is due to who the Lions picked in the draft. Jarrad Davis was their first round pick, and they basically handed him the keys immediately. He’s actually a true middle linebacker, and if he can give the defense consistency in the middle that might be enough for them to take the next step.
They also selected Jalen Reeves-Maybin in the fourth round this year. Reeves-Maybin has a lot of potential, as he would have been a much higher pick had he not been injured most of last season. However, he is already fully recovered and in a few seasons could be seen as a steal of this draft.
Reeves-Maybin may get a chance to start someday, but not right off the bat. That spot is going to be held by Paul Worrilow. Worrilow comes from the Atlanta Falcons where he was a rotational player along with being a special teams ace. And if we’ve learned anything about Lions GM Bob Quinn, it’s that he loves players that can contribute in multiple ways.
There have also been some rumors about Zach Orr possibly joining the Lions. However, it’s questionable if he can even play again still. Either way, the addition of him isn’t moving Detroit out of fourth place this week.