Photo credit: Leon Halip / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
When the Detroit Lions drafted Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah in the 2013 draft they were getting a raw football player. Ansah who played college football at Brigham Young University was a physical specimen at 6’5 270 pounds. However the defensive end had only played football for 3 seasons. All 3 seasons were at B.Y.U from 2010-2012, which is very little football participation when you consider most players have been playing since the pee wee level. Instead Ansah played soccer and basketball growing up. Then at B.Y.U he was persuaded to try out for the football team and everything kind of fell in place from there. The Lions were blown away with Ansash’s physical skill set. He was bigger, faster, and stronger than most of the other players coming out of the draft in 2013. The thought of pairing Ansah next to Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley was enough to cause the Lions to select Ansash with the 5th overall pick in the first round during the draft. From that moment on Ansah impressed in Detroit. In his rookie season he was able to record 32 tackles, 8 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. In his second year he improved tackle wise but slipped to only 7.5 sacks. It wasn’t until Ziggy’s third pro season that he emerged as one of the top pass rushers in the league. Ansah recorded 14.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries in his 3rd season. His 14.5 sacks were good enough to finish 3rd in the league in total sacks. Only finishing behind J.J Watt and Khalil Mack. The Lions gamble on a player with limited football experience paid off and that assessment of his physical prowess ending up returning significant reward. Now Ansah enters his fourth season as one of the top defensive ends in the league. It will be up to him to help the Lions elevate their waning defense. Regardless of how that defense finishes, you have to expect that Ansah individually will excel at the end of the day. His physical gifts just make him superior than the competition.
Charity of the day: American Brain Tumor Association
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