Indianapolis – DeAndre Levy's 2015 season consisted of just 17 snaps in a Week 5 matchup vs. Arizona. A core muscle injury suffered in training camp lingered into the season. Then he aggravated the injury in his first game back, ending his 2015 season after it was determined surgery was needed.
Levy was back at the facility working out at the end of the season and head coach Jim Caldwell said he "fully anticipated" Levy being ready to go in 2016.
Lions GM Bob Quinn said this week at the Combine that he expected Levy to be ready to roll for the 2016 season.
"I'm fairly confident," Quinn said. "I have not seen DeAndre in the building as of yet. I'm really interested to see when he comes back for the offseason program what kind of shape he's in and how he's looking. But we're confident he's going to be ready for the season."
That's certainly good news for a Lions defense that missed its best player last season.
Levy was the team's leading tackler in 2014 with 151. He led all the NFL with 117 solo tackles that season and was voted second-team All Pro.
A true three-down linebacker, he recorded six interceptions in 2013 and defended 15 passes, still while racking up 119 tackles.
"The three-down linebackers in this league right now are pretty rare," Quinn said. "It's very role-specific now in the NFL, so if you have a three-down linebacker that guy's going to be a high draft pick or you're going to have to pay a lot of money for him."
That was the case for Levy last year. He and the Lions agreed to a four-year, $33.75 million extension during training camp.
"If a guy's just a third-down linebacker, well, he's going to have to have speed and coverage ability and the ability to rush the passer or blitz," Quinn said. "If he's a first- and second-down player, then he's going to play the run with the things I just talked about, the instincts, the power, the tackling."
Levy can do it all.
The Lions will most certainly look to bolster their talent level and depth at the position via free agency or the draft this offseason, but it will be a big boost to that defense to have their three-down linebacker back in the fold next season.