As has been the case in recent weeks, SB Nation's latest 2013 NFL mock draft projects the Detroit Lions to take BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah with the fifth overall pick. Most mock drafts don't have Ansah going this high, but I'm thinking the 2013 NFL Combine may change that.
NFL teams certainly don't base their entire evaluation process on the combine, but it is part of the puzzle. For some players, a strong combine can help elevate their stock, whereas a rough combine can drop the stock of other players. Take Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore, for example. He ran a 4.95 40-yard dash and only had 12 reps in the bench press. Those numbers stand out, but not in a good way.
The flip side is that guys like LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo and Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan are both standing out because of how fast they ran the 40-yard dash. Mingo ran a 4.58 and Jordan's time was 4.60. Ansah was just behind with a 4.63, and Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner was farther down at 4.83.
Considering that both Mingo and Jordan seem to project as outside linebackers in the NFL, Ansah may be emerging as the top option at defensive end for the Lions in the first round. The main issue is that it may take him some time to become an impact player, and that's time that the front office and coaching staff may not have. If they do go defensive end in the first round, Ansah is starting to emerge as one of the top options for sure, but perhaps the lack of instant-impact players will cause the Lions to go with a position other than defensive end.