As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2014. Next, let's take a look at the Detroit Lions' defensive ends. (Note: Stats are from regular-season games only.)
Ziggy Ansah - 16 games (16 starts) | 49 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 3 FF
Ansah's numbers didn't necessarily change all that much from 2013 to 2014, but he was a much better player in his second season in the NFL. Ansah's run defense improved quite a bit, and he made much more of consistent impact as a pass rusher. If he can continue to improve like this in his third year in the NFL, Ansah could become an All-Pro type of player at defensive end.
Jason Jones - 16 games (16 starts) | 22 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 3 PD, 2 FF, 1 blocked kick
After having his 2013 season ended early by an injury, Jones bounced back with a pretty solid season in 2014. His numbers weren't out of this world or anything, but Jones was a reliable player at defensive end, and he also slid inside at times to contribute at defensive tackle as well.
George Johnson - 16 games (0 starts) | 29 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 1 PD, 1 FR
Johnson had a remarkable 2014. He joined the Lions as nothing more than a camp body, but he earned a spot on the team with an impressive training camp. That carried over to the regular season with Johnson earning a spot in the rotation, and he made the most of this opportunity by finishing 2014 with 6.0 sacks.
Darryl Tapp - 16 games (0 starts) | 17 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 2 PD, 1 FR
Tapp, like Jones, gave the Lions some flexibility on the defensive line by being a versatile player. He didn't necessarily make a huge impact on the stat sheet, but he gave the Lions some solid depth in the two-deep.
Devin Taylor - 16 games (0 starts) | 15 tackles, 1.0 sack
With the emergence of Johnson and Tapp, Taylor's role on defense was really diminished in 2014. Perhaps that will change in 2015, but it had to be disappointing for Taylor to have such a limited role after he recorded 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles during his rookie season.
Larry Webster - 0 games (0 starts)
After a good preseason, Webster spent the entire regular season on the bench. With so many players ahead of him, there just wasn't an opportunity for Webster to play in the regular season, but the Lions sound quite impressed with what he did on the practice field as a rookie.
Previously: Quarterback, running back, fullback, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard, center