Ezekiel Ansah: How Will Detroit's Newest DE Fare in the Pros?

Ryan Riddle@@Ryan_RiddleCorrespondent IApril 25, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25:  Ezekiel Ansah of the BYU Cougars holds up a jersey on stage after he was picked #5 overall by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Few prospects are as polarizing as Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah. His overtly raw playing style and highly coveted athletic potential have created something of a phenomenon in terms of scouting inconsistencies. With Ansah, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Only time will tell which side of this increasingly divergent argument will end up with bragging rights.

Regardless of how you feel about Ziggy, one thing is certain: This is a kid loaded with physical tools. Though he does have an athletically diverse background, football is likely his least familiar sport.

As a Ghana native, Ziggy has only been playing football for three years, of which time he has made impressive strides toward improving his overall understanding of the game.


Pro Outlook

It seems reasonable to assume there will be significant growing pains with the Ghana project out of BYU. Consider for a moment that he was just starting to become a decent football player at the college level. The NFL is jammed packed with freakish athletes and savvy veterans who know every trick in the book. Ansah’s learning curve is going to be monumental as he makes the jump from college to the pros.

If he possesses the competitive drive and mental fortitude needed to improve his technique and understanding of the game, there really is no limit to how far he can go. With that said, his mountain to climb is as large as the opponents he must learn to defeat.

One realistic projection for Ansah would be between five to nine sacks a year in his first three seasons in Detroit where he will be able to turn off the brain and let it loose off the edge in a Wide 9 alignment.


Fantasy Outlook

Ansah won’t be a very good fantasy option in his first couple years until he learns the nuances of the game more. He’s far too raw to generate a ton of production early in his career but his value should increase each year he gains experience in the NFL.

Unless you're playing in a dynasty league, stay clear of Ansah for the his first few seasons. 


Roster Outlook

If there was a destination best suited to utilize Ziggy’s natural abilities, that place would be Detroit. The Lions' defensive line philosophy is to play the run on the way to the quarterback. They value speed off the edge and expect nothing less than full intensity every down. Ansah should provide depth by coming off the bench early on his career, allowing time to learn the intricacies of the defensive end position.

His elite speed should bolster the entire defensive front while also giving the Lions an intriguing weapon on every special teams unit. 


Pick Analysis

It’s difficult to find the reasoning behind taking this raw, project-type player so early on in the draft considering the variety of issues that jump out on his film. Sure he has shown improvement with limited opportunities, but his functional strength and questionable balance make this an extremely risky pick at fifth overall. If raw is the answer for everyone of Ansah's issues, you should consider guys like Margus Hunt, who showed much more promise while still falling under the raw project category. 


Bottom Line

This may be a popular pick among most fans considering his attractive athleticism and unlimited potential, but there just aren’t enough positives on tape to justify a top-five selection. Perhaps the decision to snag Ansah this high would be more understandable if his athletic talent consistently flashed on tape, but this too failed to happen.


Grade: D