Our latest series on the Detroit Lions roster continues with a comparison of the defensive end position from 2014 to 2015. Did the Lions improve at defensive end? Let's take a look.
2014 DEs: Ziggy Ansah, Jason Jones, George Johnson, Darryl Tapp, Devin Taylor, Larry Webster
2015 DEs: Ziggy Ansah, Jason Jones, Darryl Tapp, Devin Taylor, Larry Webster, Corey Wootton, Phillip Hunt, Kerry Hyder
The only major change at defensive end is that the Lions lost George Johnson and added Corey Wootton. Johnson was a restricted free agent who signed with Tampa Bay, and he actually ended up getting traded to the Buccaneers. To fill the void, the Lions eventually brought in Wootton, and they are expecting big things out of Larry Webster after he was unable to crack the lineup as a rookie.
Did they improve?
Considering the Lions lost Johnson, who had 6.0 sacks last season, it sure doesn't look like they improved at this position. Then again, Johnson was thought of as only a camp body at this time last year. Nobody saw his excellent season coming, so perhaps the Lions will get a similar jump from Webster and some of their other backups. On top of that, Ziggy Ansah should continue to take his game to another level, so there could be some major improvement by the time 2015 is over. For now, though, no, I don't think the Lions improved, but I don't think they're much worse than last year, either.
What about compared to 2013?
2013 DEs: Ziggy Ansah, Jason Jones, Willie Young, Devin Taylor, Israel Idonije
It would be nice to throw a player like Willie Young into the mix, but I think the 2015 Lions are far ahead of the 2013 group of defensive ends. Ansah is much better now than he was as a rookie, and Jones missed most of the 2013 season with an injury. From a talent and especially a depth standpoint, the Lions seem to be in much better shape now.