As the offseason winds down, we're going to project each position on the Detroit Lions depth chart and also take a look at some training camp battles. Next up is the defensive end position.
Starters: Ziggy Ansah, Jason Jones | Top backups: Devin Taylor, Darryl Tapp
Assuming everybody is healthy, the two-deep at defensive end is pretty clear. Ziggy Ansah, who had offseason shoulder surgery, is the top guy at defensive end, and Jason Jones, who is coming back from a season-ending knee injury, is the other starter at this position. Behind them are Devin Taylor and Darryl Tapp. Taylor had a pretty promising season as a rookie in 2013 and could be in line for a bigger role this year, and Tapp just joined the Lions this offseason and could get work at both defensive end and linebacker as a pass rusher.
Other players: Larry Webster, George Johnson, Kalonji Kashama
Of the other three players at defensive end, only fourth-round pick Larry Webster is actually expected to make the 53-man roster. Webster is a pretty raw player and is more of an athlete than anything at this point, but he should at least make the team. Whether or not he will actually factor into the rotation at defensive end remains to be seen, but he is expected to round out the depth chart at this position.
Camp battle to watch: Jason Jones vs. Devin Taylor
By all accounts, Jones is expected to return to the starting lineup once he's fully back from the serious knee injury he suffered early last season. However, what if Jones takes some time to get back up to full speed and is somewhat limited during camp? In that scenario, the door could swing wide open for Taylor to become a starter at defensive end, pushing Jones into more of a situational role. I suppose this is Jones vs. his health as much as it is Jones vs. Taylor, but if the second-year player from South Carolina has a solid camp, he could make a strong case to be a starter sooner rather than later.