Can the Lions enter 2017 with Tahir Whitehead as the starter?

The Detroit linebacker struggled in 2016 after a strong 2015. PFF premium stats show that Whitehead will need to have a rebound year to warrant a starting role.

| 1 month ago
Tahir Whitehead

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Can the Lions enter 2017 with Tahir Whitehead as the starter?


After having a career year in 2015 with a 79.7 overall grade (21st among LBs), Detroit’s Tahir Whitehead regressed in every aspect of the game. In 2016, his overall grade of 38.0 ranked second-to-last out of 87 LBs that played at least 300 snaps.

In coverage:

  • In coverage, Whitehead saw his grade dip from 74.6 in 2015 to 42.5 in 2016 which ranked 73rd out of 76 LBs who played at least 195 snaps in coverage.
  • 3 coverage snaps per reception allowed ranked dead last among LBs.
  • 1.43 yards allowed per coverage snap ranked 55th out of 57 eligible LBs.
  • Opposing QBs targeted his coverage once every 5.3 coverage snaps, the second-highest rate in the NFL.
  • Into his coverage, Whitehead allowed a catch rate of 82.8 percent for a passer rating against of 124.9.

Run defense:

  • In run defense, Whitehead earned a grade of just 45.6 (75th among LBs) in 2016 after a career high of 77.8 in 2015.
  • Whitehead’s 7.1 run-stop percentage in 2016 ranked 43rd out of 60 LBs.

Tahir Whitehead Chart

  • LogicalFallacy

    “43 yards allowed per coverage snap”

    That’s gotta be a typo. He’s pretty bad, but that’s impossibly bad.