Brandon Hepburn to Detroit: How Does Linebacker Fit in Detroit?

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Brandon Hepburn to Detroit: How Does Linebacker Fit in Detroit?
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Martin Mayhew closed out his 2013 NFL draft class by selecting Florida A&M linebacker Brandon Hepburn. 

Besides having a great name, Brandon is a man of the community who volunteers often, earned his degree and contributed to a successful biochemistry research lab. 

Coincidentally, he can also play football too. So read through to see how, or if, he fits in the Detroit Lions' plans moving forward.

 

Role

There isn't going to be any immediate role for Hepburn in the everyday defense. While I wouldn't say that Ashlee Palmer is entrenched as the starting strong-side linebacker, Hepburn isn't going to challenge him in camp.

The more likely scenario will find him learning the ropes as a third-string linebacker trying to learn every position on the second line. That way, if a rash of injuries afflict the Lions, he'll be the utility man who can step in and at least appear competent.

But he isn't going to be a star. Heck, he probably isn't even going to be a starter, next year or anytime in the near future.

Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

No, Hepburn's role will be that of a special-teamer. If he can embrace that, while working on the rest of his game, he could scratch out a decent career. He could certainly stick around long enough to secure a pension.

Honestly, he has all the tools to excel on coverage units. He's fast (4.56 at his pro day, according to www.nfldraftscout.com) and racked up plenty of tackles his senior year (86 in 2012), which proves he can get down the field and bring down the return man.

 

Early Impact

Hepburn isn't going to turn around the defense, but he can certainly help the second worst punt and kickoff units in the league, according to Football Outsiders.

This is one of those situations where the Lions have nowhere to go but up. Thus, Hepburn certainly can't hurt. 

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