DE Ezekiel Ansah (BYU) - Round 1, Pick No. 5
The best-case scenario for the Detroit Lions going into the 2013 NFL Draft was for them to land one of the top offensive tackles. That didn't happen, though, as the top three tackles went in the top four picks. As a result, the Lions decided to take BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who played for the Detroit-coached team in the 2013 Senior Bowl and fills a major need on the D-line.
Ansah, who is from Ghana, never played a down of football before he walked on at BYU in 2010. He previously tried to play basketball and was a member of the track team at BYU, but he ultimately ended up becoming a football player. In just a few seasons, he went from being new to the sport to being a top-five pick in the NFL.
What the experts are saying
I would have no reservations about drafting Ansah in the top 10 of the 2013 NFL Draft. In a class that supposedly lacks elite talent at the top, Ansah has tons of it. He is not nearly as raw as you might expect given his lack of playing experience, and the development he has shown throughout his college career is reason enough for optimism that his growth will continue in the NFL.
More fans and media-types caught wind of his story as his junior season approached. Still, the product on the field was not up to the level of the hype. Then 2012 came to pass. Ansah kept getting better and better as the season wore on, until eventually, he, along with Kyle Van Noy, became the face of the unit. The BYU defense has simply never seen a player with this kind of raw athletic ability.
It's amazing how far Ansah's technique has come in such a short amount of time, not to mention how much he has transformed his body to fit the role coaches want him to play. Sizable frame coupled with outstanding closing speed and natural power. Ansah is rough around the edges, but height/weight/speed with positional versatility makes for a tantalizing upside.
He does not know how to use his hands at this stage in terms of shedding blockers and setting up a variety of pass rush moves, but his ability to consistently lock out with his long arms allows him to consistently set the POA and hold his ground at the LOS. He possesses outstanding first step quickness for a man his size, which was prominently on display at the Senior Bowl, when Detroit's coaching staff lined him up wide and let him continually abuse OTs with his raw speed off the edge. One of his traits that makes me feel more comfortable about his ability to learn the NFL game is his instincts, as he is surprisingly quick to locate the ball and understands how his man blocks him changes the design of the play.
Ansah has an elite combination of size and raw athleticism, but he is relatively inexperienced. However, on tape he shows natural instincts coupled with explosive power and excellent closing burst for a 271-pounder. He also has good versatility, with the ability to reduce inside and provide some interior pass rush. With his frame, tools and freakish athleticism, he has the potential to become a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
2010: 3 tackles, 1 pass defended
2011: 7 tackles
2012: 62 tackles, 13.0 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 9 passes defended, 1 forced fumble
- Barry Sanders announces Ansah pick
- Ansah vs. Notre Dame (2012)
- Ansah vs. Boise State/Utah (2012)
- Ansah vs. Hawaii (2012)
- Ansah vs. San Diego State (2012)
- Ansah vs. Georgia Tech (2012)
- Ansah vs. Washington State (2012)
- Ansah vs. Idaho (2012)
- Ansah vs. San Jose State (2012)
- Ansah vs. New Mexico State (2012)
- Ansah vs. Oregon State (2012)
- Ansah vs. Utah State (2012)
- Ansah highlights
- Ansah's combine workout
- Ansah at BYU's pro day
- Ansah interview at BYU's pro day
- Ansah interview at draft
- Ansah interview after being picked by Lions
- Ansah at the 2013 draft
- Ansah interview at Lions draft party
- Ansah shows off his sense of humor
- Ansah interview with Lions' official site
- ESPN feature on Ansah
- BYUtv feature on Ansah
- Ansah draft profile
- ESPN analyzes Ansah
- CBS Sports breaks down Ansah pick
- Fox Sports breaks down Ansah pick
Outlook for 2013
Ansah should immediately step in as a starter for the Lions at defensive end. Just how effective or explosive he will be remains to be seen, and it will take time for him to fully reach his potential. However, the Lions expect Ansah to be a big-time contributor in his rookie season.