Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
The starting defensive ends are all but set with Ezekiel Ansah and Jason Jones. Yet against Cleveland, neither will be seen very much; Ansah remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, while Jones isn't likely to play more than a series or two.
That provides a lot of reps for the reserves to sort themselves out on the depth chart.
Second-year talent Devin Taylor is all but assured of being the third end. He's looked strong in camp after finishing his promising rookie campaign with at least one QB hurry in each of his final six games, per Pro Football Focus. A successful preseason debut would only help bolster his status, not to mention his confidence.
It's the first chance to check out Darryl Tapp in a Lions uniform. The veteran from Virginia Tech has earned heaping praise from Coach Caldwell for his professionalism. He's also looked very good in camp. From my Friday camp notes at Detroit Lions Draft:
–Darryl Tapp flummoxed Corey Hilliard with a jab step move and motored inside him for an easy backfield pressure. Later, Tapp quickly read a swing pass and swatted it down. He lined up at open end every rep I saw him.
One of the surprises of camp has been journeyman George Johnson. As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes, the slimmed-down physique is paying off in his quest to make the Lions. Now his audition progresses to facing blockers not clad in Honolulu blue.
For Andre Fluellen, now in his fourth stint with the Lions, camp is a barometer for his progress in making the move from tackle to end. He faces long odds to make the final 53-man roster, but his play here could very well be an audition for another team.