HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ
Opening Statement: "We talked a little bit yesterday about our experience with Ziggy at the Senior Bowl. Our scouts had been on BYU's campus I think three times before we even got to the Senior Bowl. Then the coaches got a chance to meet him at the Senior Bowl and we got a chance to see him at practice, we had a chance to see him before the game and during the game and also see him at the combine and watch him work through the process. We couldn't be prouder to have him as a member of the Detroit Lions. He's a multi-dimensional player, he's good against the run, he's a very good pass rusher, one of the most instinctive players that we scouted and like we said yesterday, don't mistake inexperience for instinctive. He has very, very good football instincts and he's still new to the game. Probably the best thing that we've went through was just getting to know him as a person. The right kind of guy for Detroit; a hard working humble guy that respects the game and respects what it takes to get here. We were impressed by his seriousness and his work ethic and we were proud to turn in the card at number five for Ziggy Ansah."
LIONS DE EZEKIEL ANSAH
Opening Statement: "I don't even know how to start. I can't explain what I feel right now. It's just a unique feeling that you've got to feel for yourself. All I can say is I'm really thrilled to be here in the city of Detroit. I'm privileged and humbled to be a Lion since yesterday. I love you guys and I was happy to be under their direction in Indy, sorry, at the Senior Bowl in Alabama and I know we were going to connect and do great."
On what he knew about the Lions prior to yesterday: "I know they had a good coaching staff, like I said, I was under their direction at the Senior Bow. I know that they respect me and they have faith in me and what I'm capable of doing. I believe they trust their pick and I'm willing to work with them."
On how he felt when seeing his first football game: "It was a great experience. I don't remember the exact game that I saw, but it was a home game back at BYU Provo. I thought it was a pretty intense game. I saw how much the fans love the game and it was kind of addicting and you have to just get into it and that's how it got started."
On if he ever thought he would be playing sports: "No that was my first year that I saw it (football game) and I was still thinking of playing basketball and not football.
On wearing the glasses at the Draft being a fashion statement: "Those (glasses) were something I wore back at BYU and people noted me for that and my friends dared me to wear them and I thought, ‘Why not?'"
On what he likes about football: "All I can say is I've given a lot for this game. It hasn't been an easy road. It's competitive and it's a challenge to me. It just drives me. I want to be able to say at the end of my career I was able to achieve all that. I want to just stay focused and getting better every single day is what I'm aiming for.
On how much of his success can be owed to his coach Bronco Mendenhall: "My success doesn't only go to coach Mendenhall, it's just a little bit of everybody chipping in. I've got a great family out here who've been really supportive since day one. I've got really good friends, teammates back in Utah, who helped me put on my pads on day one. They explained the game to me and the support that I had back in Utah was just great. I can't say coach Mendenhall was the only one who did it, but just to let you know that he was the one who said yes to me when I wanted to start this game so he definitely deserves some credit and I love him."
On what the reaction has been like back in Ghana: "I haven't heard all about it but my phone was blowing up with text messages from all my friends from back home, Facebook hitting me up and everybody just congratulating me and telling me how big of a role model I am to all of the little kids back home. That is really touching and humbling to me and I know that I have to live a standard for all these little kids coming up."
On when people started calling him Ziggy: "We had a basketball tournament back in high school in Ghana and I think they wanted to put names behind our jerseys, and they said what name should be put there, so I think one of my friends just said let's just give him Ziggy and I think that's how it all got started."
On playing basketball: "I started playing basketball because my older brother played basketball. I always was with him during the weekends and just sit and watch him play basketball. He was a really good player and that's how I learned to play basketball just by sitting and just watching him. That's how I picked up the game and that was what I wanted to do. But when I came to BYU, I tried out for two years and most of us know, and it didn't work out. But one thing I've got to do when I get back to Utah, I'm going to go to coach Ross, who is the head basketball coach and thank him so much for not letting me play."
On what it was like not being able to make the basketball team: "I think we had about 30 people try out and they picked the top 10 for the two years that I tried out. I was part of the top 10, but I never knew what they were looking for. You don't know if they're looking for a guard or they're looking for a power forward, so at the end of the day they just tell you thank you very much for trying out and you can try out next time. That happened my first year and I was like I have so many more years to play college ball so I came back the following year and just worked out towards and thinking I was going to make it that year and it didn't work out. Obviously I was frustrated because I put it in the back of my mind that when I came out here, that was what I was going to do. Like I said, I have great friends back in Utah who kept encouraging me, keep your head up and persevere and don't ever give up. So then I did track for a little bit and finally decided on football."
On if he watches more NBA or NFL: "I would say I have watched more basketball games than football games."
On who he compares himself to in the NFL: "I know a lot of people have compared me to JPP (Jason Pierre Paul) and I was actually privileged to meet him when I was in New York. He's a great person. I've watched him play. I really respect him. But, you know, I'm coming in here to just be myself. I'm not trying to play like somebody else. I want people to say, ‘I want to play like Ziggy.' I'm just here to set my own standards."
On how his skill set translates to the Lions defensive scheme: "You know, back at BYU I wasn't able to play wide-nine a lot just because of the scheme that we had and I was privileged just to play under the Lions and put me outside and just rush the quarterback. I think I did pretty good during the Senior Bowl and they know my capabilities. Like I said, they have trust in me and I also have trust in them to see what I can produce for this team. I know what I can do. I'm just ready to start working."
On the graduation ceremony he had in New York: "It was an unofficial, official graduation just in my room. You know, I had my family and saw all my friends back in my hotel room. I got my cap and gown and just took some photos just in case I can't take photos with them in a few months. It was a really emotional moment for each and every one of us."
On why that was so important to him: "It is really important. Coming out of Africa if you don't do well in school, you get your butt whooped. You've got to excel. You can't just go out and play if you're getting all D's and F's in school, you know? You're going to be picked out of the field, ‘Come home, come study.' So, education is really big in our family and I just couldn't do without it."
On Lions defensive line coaches Kris Kocurek and Jim Washburn: "Kocurek and Washburn, man, I was privileged to work under them. Yes, they're crazy, and yes they're different from the coaches back at BYU, but one thing that they said to me was if they're not hard on me it means they don't love me. I like that. Just like back at BYU, my coach was really hard on me. He didn't treat me like I never played football. He treated me just like any other person and actually pushed me. Working with Kris and Washburn I think we are going to make a good team."
On if the criticism bothers him: "All I can say is that I don't even listen to all that. I don't really care what people say. I don't listen to the media or anything. I know what I'm capable of doing and that is what I just rely on."
On what he previously knew about the city of Detroit: "I have yet to discover the city. So far, so good. Loving it."
On what moment from draft night sticks out to him: "Just my family out here, you know? I wouldn't be here without them. They've been really supportive since day one like I already said. They don't give up on me and I'm not going to give up on them. They're really proud of me and everything that I've done. It was a really emotional night for me. It was crazy, unbelievable, special. Overall, it's really humbling."
On when he told his mother than he wanted to come to the United States for college: "She was really excited for me. You know, coming out of Africa, everyone wants to come to the United States just to be well-educated and she didn't hesitate to support me. So that was good."
On if he was hesitant to come to the United States: "Oh, I didn't hesitate. She was crying when I was leaving. I was like, ‘See you later."
On the first time he put on football equipment: "Yeah, I didn't know what I was doing. I was a mess. But my teammates helped me put on my pads right. I think I put my thigh pad in my knee pad. It was going in."
On if he has a mean streak where he hates quarterbacks: "You know, I don't know if I want to use the word hate because you can't concentrate if you hate somebody. You've got to love them. If you love somebody, you want to grab them. So, I love quarterbacks."
On how he picked No. 94 for his jersey: "I didn't pick it. They just gave it to me and I'm loving it already."