Questions about Anthony Zettel’s position in the NFL and just how high his ceiling might be pushed him into the sixth round despite a productive college career at Penn State. That led to a rather wide range of outcomes for Zettel’s rookie season, covering everything from becoming a regular part of the rotation to straight up out of the picture before the regular season began.
"Best-case scenario: Makes a smooth transition from college defensive tackle to closed end with the Lions to be a competent backup to Devin Taylor. Worst-case scenario: Doesn’t make it out of training camp and the Lions don’t bring him back on the practice squad."
A combination of the injury to Ziggy Ansah and a lackluster overall performance from the Lions’ group of defensive ends opened up an opportunity for Zettel to get some playing time as a rookie. His snap count totals fell well short of Ansah, Kerry Hyder and Devin Taylor, but Zettel entered the rotation in week three and stayed there the rest of the season.
An argument can be made that Zettel was actually better than Taylor last season, although that has more to do with the disappointing season Taylor had than Zettel’s performance. It remains to be seen what kind of a long-term future Zettel has, but the Lions’ got their pick’s worth in year one.