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2015 Detroit Lions roster review: Defensive ends

A look back at how the Lions' defensive ends performed in 2015 and a look ahead to 2016.

Leon Halip/Getty Images

As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2015. Next, let's take a look at the Detroit Lions' defensive ends.

Ezekiel Ansah

2015 stats: 16 games (16 starts) | 47 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 pass defended 
2016 status: Signed through 2016

Ziggy's fantastic 2015 season earned him both Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. Ansah nearly doubled his sack output from last season (7.5 sacks) while improving on his forced fumble and passes defended numbers. Ansah only has one more year left on his rookie contract, so the Lions would be wise to extend him this offseason.

Jason Jones

2015 stats: 15 games (15 starts) | 31 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 PD
2016 status: Unrestricted free agent

Jones had a somewhat quiet season in 2015, perhaps because he was lost in Ansah's shadow. The veteran end put up similar numbers to last year, when he finished with 22 tackles and 5.0 sacks. Jones will turn 30 years old this offseason, so the Lions have a tough choice regarding his upcoming free agency.

Darryl Tapp

2015 stats: 16 games (1 start) | 26 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 2 FF
2016 status: Unrestricted free agent

Like Jones, Tapp is an aging defensive lineman who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Tapp's 26 tackles was actually his highest total since 2011, but the 31-year old lineman is essentially mediocre depth at this point in his career.

Devin Taylor

2015 stats: 15 games (0 starts) | 28 tackles, 7.0 sacks, 1 FF, 1 PD
2016 status: Signed through 2016

Aided by some mentorship from Tapp, Taylor took a big step in his young career in this season. After a disappointing sophomore year, Taylor doubled his career tackles and tallied 4.5 more sacks than his previous season-high. While Taylor didn't have a start this year, he actually had the second-most playing time among all defensive ends. Taylor made a strong case for the starting job next year.

Corey Wootton

2015 status: 0 games (0 starts)
2016 status: Unrestricted free agent

Wootton's 2015 season ended during the Lions' final preseason game. Wootton tore his pectoral muscle just as the game was ending, and was placed on the injured reserve list. He was likely a long-shot to make the roster, and was only signed to a one-year deal.

Outlook for 2016

The Lions will be making several decisions regarding the defensive end position this offseason. Detroit only has two ends currently signed through the 2016 season (Ansah and Taylor). In addition to facing tough choices in re-signing Jones and Tapp -- two aging veterans -- the Lions will also likely want to sign Ansah to a long-term deal before the start of the season. In the end, the edges of the Lions' defensive line could look very different in 2016.

Previously: Quarterbacks, running backs, fullbacks, wide receivers, tight ends,offensive tackles, offensive guards, centers

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