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: Ezekiel Ansah, Jason Jones | Top backup: Larry Webster
As long as they're both healthy, we know that Ezekiel Ansah and Jason Jones are going to start at defensive end for the Lions. Ansah came on really strong last year in his second season in the league, and the Lions seem to value Jones' abilities as a run stopper, as well as his versatility given that he can slide inside and play defensive tackle as well.
What we don't currently know is which player is going to be the top backup at defensive end. George Johnson stepped into this role after coming out of nowhere in training camp last year, and I'm currently projecting Larry Webster to have a similar sudden rise after not playing at all during his rookie season. Perhaps this will be a case of offseason hype not living up to reality, but the Lions seem to really feel good about Webster.
Other backups: Darryl Tapp, Devin Taylor | Other players: Corey Wootton, Phillip Hunt, Kerry Hyder
There are likely two other spots available at defensive end, and Darryl Tapp and Devin Taylor seem like the obvious picks. Tapp is another versatile player, and he's become one of the leaders on the defensive line. Taylor, meanwhile, is hoping to take a big step forward as he enters his third season in the league, and it's tough to imagine the Lions moving on from him in favor of someone like Corey Wootton, who only joined the team in May.
Featured camp battle: Larry Webster vs. Darryl Tapp vs. Devin Taylor vs. Corey Wootton vs. Phillip Hunt for the No. 3 DE job
Other camp battles to watch: The runners-up from the featured camp battle for the No. 4 and No. 5 DE jobs
Basically the entire depth chart beyond the starters is one big camp battle. The No. 3 spot is up for grabs, and whichever players don't win that camp battle will then try to secure one of the other two open spots at defensive end. Exact order aside, the Lions do seem to have a pretty clear top five at defensive end at this point, but as Johnson taught us a year ago, things can change pretty quickly once training camp begins.
Previously: Quarterback, running back, fullback, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard/center