Once again, for the sake of this series, lets make the assumption that the Raiders do not trade out of the third-overall pick.
A draft prospect among NFL viewers has been defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah out of Brigham Young University. And why wouldn’t he be?
Ansah is drawing comparisons to New York Giants’ star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who went 15th overall in 2010.
Like JPP, Ansah is a raw football talent with freakish athleticism that has only been in football for a couple of years.
Ansah, originally from Ghana, originally tried out for BYU’s basketball program but didn’t make the cut for two years in a row. At the time, he decided to try football after people urging him to do so, according to ESPN.com.
From there, Ansah’s athleticism and work ethic dazzled coaches at BYU and now NFL scouts.
After being relegated to primarily the special teams unit in 2011, Ansah was able to prove his worth his senior year in 2012.
Ansah once again possesses versatility that the Raiders defense desires with their “multiple” scheme, as he has played as a stand-up rushing linebacker, along with the tradition defensive end position. Ansah has even lined up in the middle of the defensive line, providing an anchor for BYU. This kind of versatility can be a strong asset in the hands of a defensive minded coach like Dennis Allen and Jason Tarver.
In his senior season, the 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive lineman racked up 63 tackles, including 13 for a loss and 4.5 sacks. He also added nine passes defensed, one forced fumble, and one interception.
When watching tape of Ansah, the first thing that sticks out is his amazing footwork, as was shown with his 20-yard shuttle time of 4.26 seconds, the fastest of any defensive lineman at the combine.
Ansah uses his quick feet to jolt his opposing lineman back, along with shedding tackles to the side and using his closing speed to track down the ball carrier. One of the biggest upsides to Ansah is his apparent ability to be coached. It is clearly due to his work ethic and ability to absorb coaching that he has become what seems to be a top-five draft pick just two years after first stepping onto the football field.
But, the fact that he only first stepped onto the football field two years ago is also a drawback on the 23 year old. His football talents are raw and his technique will need development after entering the NFL. Another weakness is his admitted lack of stamina.
Overall, Ansah has scouts and teams drooling over his athletic ability and his comparisons to Pierre-Paul are reasonable. Ansah has the ability to be coached that coaches desire in every player, and there’s no reason that he can’t be developed into a solid, if not great, defensive end in the NFL. With the flashes he’s shown in just one year of starting in college, at top-five draft pick is warranted for the athlete.
Ansah’s NFL Scouting Combine Results
40-yard dash: 4.63 seconds
Bench press: 21 reps
Vertical jump: 34.5 inches
Broad jump: 118.0 inches
Three-cone drill: 7.11 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.26 seconds