Stay or Go: Linebacker Position Needs All The Help It Can Get

Nobody Can Argue, Linebacker Was The Biggest Weakness For Detroit In 2016

Detroit had a roller coaster of a season at the linebacker position. DeAndre Levy was coming back from an injury-riddled 2015 season, only for his 2016 season to be more of the same. Detroit let Josh Bynes go due to an injury before the season start, only for him to come back midway through the season. Tahir Whitehead had his worst season of his career and for some weeks Detroit was scrambling for replacements with injuries messing them up again and again.

Lions fans are hoping the 2017 season for the linebackers will be different. They want Levy to be 100 percent healthy, and depth and talent at the position. Going through the list here, we can limit ourselves to what Detroit could be working with and who could come in and help make this defense impressive again and it starts with the linebackers.

DeAndre Levy

Just like Ameer Abdullah, DeAndre Levy is on his third strike in Detroit. He has had two straight injury filled seasons after having a phenomenal 2014 season that lead to a contract extension. Half of the fan base wants him gone, via trade or cutting him entirely. The other half still sees potential in him and I am in that half. If Levy has another injury that limits him to miss the majority of the season again, then get him out. For now though, he has to be given a third chance…I mean, look at Matt Stafford.

Decision: Stay

Tahir Whitehead

While Whitehead statistically had his best season of his career, the numbers tell a different story to what was seen on the field. Whitehead was horrible in pass coverage and allowed too many catches and touchdowns, despite getting 99 tackles and six pass deflections. Whitehead still isn’t a bad linebacker overall. While he struggles in coverage, he can stuff the run and tackle well. His starting job should be up in the air if Detroit finds a better free agent or rookie. For the time being, he has to stay.

Decision: Stay

Josh Bynes

If Bynes didn’t come back to Detroit during last season, things could have been worse. While he wasn’t making plays left and right, he did his job and it helped Detroit greatly. While they were struggling with backups starting as the starters were banged up, Bynes came in helped with coverage greatly. Bynes has proved his worth in Detroit.

Decision: Stay

Antwione Williams

As a fifth round draft pick, Willliams was asked to do a little more than may have been expected of him coming into the season. He started three games and didn’t do horribly. Sure he had only 12 tackles and a fumble recovery, but for a fifth round pick asked to start and play more than expected, he did well. He can continue to grow and become a good linebacker in Detroit.

Decision: Stay

Thurston Armbrister

Here is where we have to cut some ties. Armbrister had to start two games due to injuries and he had a low tackle count as well, getting only nine. His coverage was not good and neither was his tackling. Armbrister isn’t that great as a backup linebacker and Detroit can easily find better talent than him.

Decision: Go

Jon Bostic

Why can’t we have a picture of Jon Bostic in a Lions jersey? It’s because he never suited up for the Lions this season. He broke a bone in his foot during a preseason practice and was out for the entire year. 2013 was the only season he was able to play all 16 games. Bostic has had many injury issues in the past and with this one happening, he has run out of his three strikes.

Decision: Go

Possible Replacements

  • Dont’a Hightower
  • Manti Te’o
  • Zach Brown
  • Malcolm Smith
  • Jarrad Davis, Florida
  • Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
  • Raekwon McMillian, Ohio State
  • Anthony Walker, Northwestern
  • Ryan Anderson, Alabama

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and share your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.