Today we got some pretty phenomenal news. DeAndre Levy would be returning to the Lions active roster after almost an entire year of being plagued by injury and strange rainforest illnesses. He had a torn labrum, which was surgically repaired last October, however despite several short lived attempts to come back, he has failed to be able to do so. This is an absolutely massive boost for the Lions defense, there’s no other way to say it.
DeAndre Levy pre-injury was arguably the single best all around outside linebacker in the NFL for the 4-3 scheme. In his dominant prior two years (2013/2014) he led all defensive players in tackles (tied with Lavonte David), has the most interceptions of any linebacker with seven, and had more passes defended then Earl Thomas and Stephon Gilmore. He is without question one of the best in coverage among linebackers, while also offering sneaky good blitzing skills and top end, occasionally bordering on game changing, play making ability. He will give Detroit the option to open the playbook just that little bit more then if he wasn’t there, having the ability to play all over the field. If he can return to at least close to where he was in the 2014 season, the Lions get a far above average starter back on defense to significantly pump up a generally inexperienced linebacker group. This should also help significantly take pressure off of a secondary seemingly missing a competent starter at safety opposite Glover Quin. Levy can help cover anyone from a runner out of the backfield to an athletic tight end, allowing presumed starter opposite Quin, Rafael Bush, to focus on a more manageable workload.
With a highly youthful and inexperienced linebacker corps currently being headlined by Tahir Whitehead in his first true year as the clear starter, and a smattering of slightly above average Josh Bynes and completely unproven Kyle Van Noy, Levy will be a source of calm reliability in the middle of the defense. Hopefully now he can shake off this injury and take steps back to being his former self and playing up to the massive contract extension he signed just prior to the incident.