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Lions draft preview: Tulloch injury had silver lining

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Taiwan Jones

This is the eighth in a series of Lions position previews for the NFL draft. Today: Linebackers.

If there was a silver lining to Stephen Tulloch suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2014, it's that the Lions now have a surplus of linebackers with ample game experience heading into 2015.

Tulloch and DeAndre Levy are both likely secure in their starting roles next season, and Kyle Van Noy and Tahir Whitehead probably will compete in training camp for the starting spot on the strong side. Behind them, the Lions also have Josh Bynes, who split time with Whitehead in the middle last year, and a few linebackers with a special teams focus.

So, looking to the draft, linebacker is among the positions with the least amount of need, but that won't stop the Lions from taking one if they think he's the best player available when they're on the clock.

The Lions have said they're looking to add special teams players to the mix, and a late-round linebacker would certainly be a candidate to help there.

Of course, the Lions already have Travis Lewis, who was a top special teams player before he suffered a season-ending quad injury in Week 2. Julian Stanford also has ample special teams experience, and Jerrell Harris and Brandon Copeland, whom the Lions signed after the veteran's combine in March, will compete for a role in the third unit.

* Go through the gallery above or go here for Josh Katzenstein's top 10 linebackers in the NFL draft.