Stay or Go: Defensive End Issues Call For Help

Besides Ziggy Ansah, Detroit Doesn’t Have Another Solid Defensive End

The defensive line is one of the many question marks heading into 2017. While the linebacker and defensive back spots are looking for some help, no part of the defense needs more help than the defensive line. The line was ranked 30th in the league in sacks, tied with Cleveland and ahead of Oakland. Beside Ziggy Ansah, Detroit didn’t have a solid pass rusher. Kerry Hyder was inconsistent, so if he can stay improve that, then 2017 should be a big year for him. For now though, we need to figure out who at the position needs to stay and who needs to go in order to help this front create pressure and help win games.

Ziggy Ansah

Ziggy is coming off his worst year ever. He played in 13 games and was only able to get two sacks as he dealt with an ankle injury for majority of the season. Ziggy is up for a new contract after the 2017 season and he will be 28 at that time. When he is healthy we know how good Ansah can be, it would be a mistake to ditch him after one injury-riddled year.

Decision: Stay

Devin Taylor

Time for Taylor to go. While he didn’t have his worst season ever, Taylor doesn’t seem to be the same player he was in 2015. While part of his problem was the playcalling as he would have to be a zone blitz at times and drop back in coverage, which defensive ends aren’t great, Taylor just doesn’t seem to be a fit anymore in this defense. Detroit can find a replacement for him easily with a solid draft class and plenty of free agent options.

Decision: Go

Kerry Hyder

Hyder was the best defensive end we had this season, leading the team in sacks with eight. He was inconsistent in getting those sacks though, getting five of those in the first four games. Hyder is an ERFA, meaning he can only re-sign with Detroit if they give him an offer. I am sure Bob Quinn will bring Hyder back after his best season yet.

Decision: Stay

Anthony Zettel

Another player that was inconsistent was Anthony Zettel. He ended up getting a sack and 10 tackles on the year and although at times he looked good, he had his spurts of getting flattened on plays. Zettel can learn from his rookie year and improve. Can’t understand why Detroit would cut a promising player after one year in limited play.

Decision: Stay

Brandon Copeland

Copeland is the wildcard here. While he mostly plays special teams, he started one game at defensive end this year. He only was able to produce seven tackles and forcing one fumble, but he is a restricted free agent, which to me seems like Detroit wants to bring him back again.

Decision: Stay

Possible Defensive End Replacements

  • Chris Long
  • Jabaal Sheard
  • Jason Pierre-Paul
  • William Gholston
  • Derek Barnett, Tennessee
  • Dawuane Smoot, Illinois
  • Chris Wormley, Michigan
  • Taco Charlton, Michigan
  • Solomon Thomas, Stanford
  • DeMarcus Walker, Florida State
  • Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
  • Carl Lawson, Auburn

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp

Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.