Why DeAndre Levy is one of NFL’s most underrated
The Detroit Lions announced Wednesday that they have locked up linebacker DeAndre Levy to a long-term contract, keeping one of their best players in Detroit for the foreseeable future. Levy is underrated to most NFL fans, but he’s been on PFF’s radar for a few years now as one of the league’s best all-around linebackers.
As usual, it takes a deeper look beyond tackle, interception and sack numbers to find Levy’s true value.
After a relatively quiet first four years in the league, Levy took a huge leap forward in 2013. He had a strong year in coverage that saw him pick off six passes, get his hands on five more, and finish with the third-best coverage grade among 4-3 outside linebackers. He also became more of a playmaker against the run, picking up 31 stops and ranking fifth at the position in run-stop percentage at 8.8 percent.
In 2014, Levy took his game to another level, this time as a dominant presence against the run. His run-stop percentage of 14.1 percent dwarfed his previous season numbers and led the league among all outside linebackers. He heads into 2015 with the highest run-stop rating among linebackers at 90.1.
When you throw in Levy’s strong skills as a blitzer as an added bonus (85.5, seventh among linebackers), you get a versatile, three-down linebacker who is coveted and necessary in today’s NFL, despite what you hear around draft time about the “de-valuing” of the position.