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Returning from last season: Cliff Avril, Jared DeVries, Jason Hunter, Turk McBride
New to the team: Kyle Vanden Bosch, Willie Young, Chima Ihekwoaba
The defensive end position is just one part of the Lions' revamped D-line, which will likely feature three new starters when the regular season opens. The lone familiar face will come at defensive end, as the likes of Jason Hunter and Cliff Avril are battling for a starting spot. The other side? That belongs to Kyle Vanden Bosch, the Lions' big defensive free agent acquisition.
So far during training camp, Vanden Bosch's presence has been felt, both from a football standpoint as he makes plays, and from the standpoint of him being a leader and setting an example for the younger players on the team. Every day you hear about how Vanden Bosch is chasing down running backs even if they are 25 yards down the field and how he is one of the most intense people on the field. You also hear about how great of a leader he is, making me think he will be one of the Lions' captains for sure.
With one starting job locked up, the rest of the defensive ends are battling to find their place in the starting lineup. The two main players involved in this battle are Avril and Hunter, who both had pretty good seasons a year ago. No matter who ends up with the starting job, it's obvious that the Lions' depth will be improved considering they have a few starting-caliber players at the defensive end position. (It's nice to be able to say that about a position on defense for a change.)
The one dark horse in the starting competition is Turk McBride. He spent the offseason bulking up and getting back to the size he was at during his days in Kansas City with Gunther Cunningham, and he is looking to make his own push for a starting job this training camp. When Vanden Bosch got a day off last week, McBride stepped in to practice with the first team, so at the very least he will be there in case KVB goes down with an injury or something.
The other DEs on the roster are rookies Willie Young and Chima Ihekwoaba and the veteran Jared DeVries. Right now as far as a spot on the roster goes, you'd imagine DeVries has the edge because he is a veteran. It's very common for younger players with upside to unseat veteran guys like DeVries, but both Young and Ihekwoaba are raw players that I could see ending up on the practice squad. DeVries may be older and is still dealing with some injuries, but it never hurts to have another veteran leader around.
Need going forward?
Depth is pretty solid at defensive end right now, so I can't imagine the Lions making a move at this position unless there is an injury.
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