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Where the Lions roster stands: Defensive end

A breakdown of the Detroit Lions' defensive ends and what needs they may have at the position.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

As a precursor to free agency and the NFL Draft, we are going to take a look at each position on the Detroit Lions roster. We continue the series with a look at the Lions' defensive ends.

Under contract: Ziggy Ansah (2016 + team option for 2017), Jason Jones (2015), Darryl Tapp (2015), Devin Taylor (2016), Larry Webster (2017), Phillip Hunt (2015)

Free agents: George Johnson (RFA)

One of the Lions' starters at defensive end is Ziggy Ansah, who really made a big leap last season. Hopes are quite high for him going forward. He was a big part of the Lions' dominant defensive line, and that should continue in the future as Ansah keeps improving.

The Lions' other starter at defensive end is Jason Jones. He bounced back with a decent year after suffering a season-ending injury in 2013. There was some talk that Jones could be a cap casualty this offseason, but Lions general manager Martin Mayhew put that to rest at the NFL Combine.

The Lions' top backup at defensive end, George Johnson, is set to become a free agent this offseason. He is a restricted free agent, and the Lions have already indicated that they plan to tender him. In other words, he will likely be back.

Another backup, Darryl Tapp, was set to become a free agent, but he was recently re-signed by the Lions. He provided good depth last season and even showed an ability to slide inside on occasion, and now he's back in the mix for 2015.

It's unclear what the Tapp re-signing means for guys like Devin Taylor and Larry Webster. They seem ready for bigger roles, but that might be tough to pull off with Tapp (and likely Johnson) still ahead of them. What's more, the Lions just recently added Phillip Hunt to the mix at defensive end as well, so that's another player that Taylor and Webster will have to beat out in order to get playing time.

Need going forward?

You can never have too many pass rushers, but this position is in excellent shape. If the Lions re-sign Johnson, they will already have six roster spots set aside at defensive end. If an opportunity to draft a promising pass rusher presents itself, the Lions might have to jump at it, but this position already looks like it's just about set.

Previously: Quarterback, running back, fullback, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard, center

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