As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2013. Next, let's take a look at the Detroit Lions' defensive ends.
Ziggy Ansah - 14 games (12 starts) | 32 tackles, 8.0 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 PD, 2 FF, 0 FR
In his rookie season, Ansah led the Lions in sacks, and it wasn't really even close. He had 8.0 sacks on the year and 2 forced fumbles, and those numbers could have actually been even better if not for some untimely penalties. He really progressed well over the course of the season, and I think he outperformed a lot of people's expectations considering how inexperienced he was going into 2013.
Willie Young - 16 games (15 starts) | 47 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 4 TFL, 5 PD, 0 FF, 2 FR
Young had a pretty solid season at defensive end. He had 3.0 sacks and 4 tackles for a loss, and he also recovered 2 fumbles. He wasn't constantly wreaking havoc with opposing offensive lines or anything like that, but he finally carried over his strong play in the preseason to the regular season. The timing couldn't have been better for Young, as he is set to become a free agent this offseason.
Jason Jones - 3 games (3 starts) | 1 tackle, 0.0 sacks, 0 TFL, 1 PD, 0 FF, 0 FR
Jones suffered a season-ending injury when he ruptured a patellar tendon in Week 3. The injury was quite disappointing, as Jones was one of the Lions' "key" free-agent signings in the offseason. He brought excellent versatility to the defensive line, and although the numbers didn't necessarily reflect it, he was a nice addition at defensive end before getting hurt.
Devin Taylor - 14 games (2 starts) | 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 TFL, 1 PD, 2 FF, 0 FR
With Jones going down, Taylor became a bigger part of the rotation at defensive end. He really showed some flashes of potential during his rookie season, and he finished with 2.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. If he keeps improving, Taylor could help form a really solid tandem at defensive end with Ansah for years to come.
Israel Idonije - 15 games (0 starts) | 11 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 3 TFL, 0 PD, 0 FF, 0 FR
When Jones got hurt, Idonije became the veteran at defensive end for the Lions, but he was really outperformed by the younger guys at the position. It was definitely nice to have Idonije's veteran presence on the D-line, but he wasn't able to put up the kind of numbers we saw in recent years when he played in Chicago. Part of that stemmed from the fact that he wasn't a starter and didn't play inside more at defensive tackle, but it would have been nice to get more production out of him. Then again, I suppose you could say that about the defensive end position as a whole.