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Checking in on the Lions' position battles: Defense

A look at where some of the Detroit Lions' defensive position battles stand after more than a week of training camp.

Leon Halip

After checking in on some of the Detroit Lions' offensive position battles earlier in the day, it's now time to see where some of their defensive position battles stand after more than a week of training camp. Take a look:

Defensive end: Darryl Tapp vs. Larry Webster vs. George Johnson

Going into camp, the position battle here was Jason Jones vs. Devin Taylor for the starting spot opposite Ziggy Ansah. However, it's pretty clear that Jones is staying in the starting lineup, and the more intriguing battle is actually for the final spots at defensive end. Tapp and Webster figure to be the fourth and fifth defensive ends on the 53-man roster, but Johnson has really emerged since camp opened. His chances of making the team still don't seem great, but if nothing else, he's at least made things interesting at this position.

Current favorites: Darryl Tapp and Larry Webster. Given that the Lions drafted Webster in the fourth round, he's not going anywhere. Tapp also looks pretty locked in thanks in part to his versatility. Barring an injury or the Lions opting to keep six defensive ends, I just don't see room for Johnson at this point in time.

Linebacker: Kyle Van Noy vs. Ashlee Palmer

The Lions haven't handed over the starting job at strongside linebacker to Van Noy just yet, but it's only a matter of time until he's at the top of the depth chart on a full-time basis. He's been getting No. 1 reps in training camp, and the Lions have really viewed him as a starter since the day he was drafted.

Current favorite: Kyle Van Noy. This is still Van Noy's spot to lose.

Cornerback: Chris Greenwood vs. Cassius Vaughn vs. Jonte Green

With Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis starting, Bill Bentley locked in as the nickelback and Nevin Lawson not going anywhere after being a fourth-round pick, there are really only one or two spots up for grabs at cornerback. It's a safe bet that one of those spots will go to Vaughn, who has gotten some reps with the first-team defense during camp. The other spot will seemingly come down to Greenwood and Green.

Current favorite: Cassius Vaughn. Green may have a slight lead over Greenwood right now, but it's still a bit too early to tell with them. With Vaughn, on the other hand, he seems to be in pretty good shape when it comes to making the team.

Safety: DeJon Gomes vs. Isa Abdul-Quddus vs. Jerome Couplin

Depending on how the rest of the roster shakes out, there will likely be one or two spots available for these three safeties. Couplin is probably destined for the practice squad, so it should come down to Gomes and Abdul-Quddus if there's only room for one of them.

Current favorite: DeJon Gomes. Gomes and Abdul-Quddus are similar players in that they both can contribute on special teams and have some past starting experience. It wouldn't shock me if both players end up on the 53-man roster, but I gave Gomes the edge for now based on what he's done in coverage since the start of camp.

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