Detroit Lions rookie Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah has one mission, should he choose to accept it: sack the quarterback.
The Lions selected the defensive end with the fifth overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft for that singular purpose.
The 24-year-old native of Ghana joins an already stacked defensive line. Detroit’s starting tackles, Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, should wreak havoc in the run game allowing Ansah to focus on pass rushing. Due to Detroit’s maulers in the middle, Ansah should avoid facing many double teams and have plenty of opportunities to apply pressure to the quarterback.
Those one-on-one chances will allow Ansah to use that well-documented speed and athletic prowess that so impressed Lions’ coaches during his week of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl. Ansah could very well be the first rookie in the NFC North to record 10 sacks in a season since Suh pulled it off in 2010.
At 6-foot-5, 271 pounds, Ansah shot up draft boards because of his freakish athleticism which brought to mind Jason Pierre-Paul’s ascension prior to the 2010 draft.
Despite just 4.5 sacks at BYU last season, Ansah’s strong performance at the NFL Combine solidified his elite status. At the combine, Ansah ran the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.63 seconds, and his 20-yard shuttle time of 4.26 seconds led all defensive ends.
Throughout OTAs, Ansah has impressed coaches with his world-class athleticism. While many rookies struggles to grasp of the difficult concepts of an NFL defense, Ansah can exploit his athleticism to minimize the learning curve.
Ansah should have an immediate impact on the Lions defense this season. His athleticism and his playmaking ability could make him the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.