ALLEN PARK — One of the many holes on the Detroit Lions depth chart at this point is starting outside linebacker.
Stephen Tulloch will be back in the middle with DeAndre Levy returning also. But Justin Durant, who started the last two seasons, was not re-signed.
The Lions could still acquire a free agent or draft for the position, but they have three linebackers on the roster who could vie for the starting role.
Here’s how Tulloch sees the battle:
“Obviously Ashlee Palmer has been in the league a long time, he’s coming around as a player. When I first got here he was kind of just trying to feel his way through, now he’s one of the top leaders on special teams he got to start a couple games last year and he showed up.
“Travis Lewis (is) raw but talented, he can run like a deer. All-time leading tackler in Oklahoma history, a very instinctive (player).
“Tahir Whitehead, when he first came here he was raw he was more of an outside rush-in kind of linebacker. Moved to a 4-3 position, but has great ability to move his hips, good instincts and is very strong a the point of attack.’’
Lewis and Whitehead were drafted a year ago. They mostly saw action on special teams.
Palmer is entering his fourth season in Detroit. He played in all 16 games each of the last three seasons with two starts in 2012 and five in 2010.
“All three of those guys bring different things to their game,’’ Tulloch said. It’s going to be interesting to see who wins this battle.’’