After much suspense and days of debating what the biggest need was in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected defensive end Ziggy Ansah. Heading into the draft, defensive end was a pressing need for the team after the release of Kyle Vanden Bosch and departure of Cliff Avril. The team was also in dire need of help on the offensive line with the retirement of Jeff Backus, and departure of Gosder Cherilus and Stephen Peterman.
The Lions chose to take a high risk/high reward with Ansah at number five. This pick came after three offensive lineman were taken ahead of their selection and the arguably best defensive end Dion Jordan had already been picked. Ansah with very little football experience became the upside pick Lions fans did not want to see.
The Lions are looking for someone to immediate start. The team will now be relying on a guy who needed help putting on his football pads his sophomore season at BYU. I’m not making this up, Ansah knows very little about football and could struggle in the NFL for a couple of seasons. Ansah wanted to play basketball in the NBA. When that plan fell through he became a track and field athlete. As a track star, he posted impressive times of 10.91 in the 100 meter and 21.89 in the 200 meter. The track coach persuaded him to play football.
Ansah saw his draft stock shoot up at the 2013 Senior Bowl. This is what ultimately got Ansah drafted by the Lions, as they were the team that coached him in this annual game. Ansah had 62 tackles, 13 of them for loss, and 4.5 sacks in the 2012 season.
At small school BYU, Ansah wasn’t even a starter for the entire season. Ansah started nine of the team’s 13 games. In fact, if it wasn’t for injuries Ansah might not have started that much. The BYU defense was good, leading the NCAA in red zone defense and ranking second in rush defense and 13th in passing defense. However, linebacker Kyle Van Noy is much of the reason for this, not Ansah.
Ultimately, I might eat my words in a couple of years when Ansah becomes the beast of an athlete that he is capable of. However, for a team that went 4-12 a year removed from a NFL Playoff berth, this was not the right pick. The Lions should be in win now mode and not drafting a player who has played only 31 NCAA games and started only nine.