Ezekiel Ansah, defensive linemen out of Bringham Young University (BYU), enters the 2013 NFL Draft with a great background story. Hailing from the African continent, Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah came to USA to join the school’s basketball team. After his short stint in the university’s team he tried out for the track team, and when that didn’t work out Ziggy tried out for the Cougars football team. He’s not a top recruit out of high school and he doesn’t have an athletic scholarship, but Ziggy Ansah became one of the best defensive linemen for his football team. It is not often a track star bulk up to his size and can become dangerous in this violent sport. But Ansah, through his hard working ethics and willingness to be coached, went from a strong special teams player to dominant defensive player-and now- to a projected first round talent. Below is a description of Ezekiel Ansah’s game tape.
6”5, 271 lbs.
Ezekiel Ansah came on to the scene in his senior year and was immediately put on notice. It is hard to ignore him when he’s on the field because of his raw power. Ansah is capable of going toe-to-toe with any offensive linemen by bull-rushing them backwards consistently. Though not explosive, Ansah is fast once he locks in on his target. He uses his combination of power and speed to shed his blockers, and rushes towards the ball carrier. Once Ansah grab hold of the ball carrier, there is little chance of escaping his tackle. Factoring in that he has a great ability to stop the run game, he is a force to be reckon with. Ziggy Ansah shows good instinct in recognizing the run.
Despite his lack of experience compared to his peers, Ansah is versatile enough to play multiple positions on the defense, including defensive end, linebacker, and defensive tackle. He is particularly dominant when he is stopping the run and rushing the passer. Ansah consistently knife through the offensive line to get to the backfield. He rarely over-pursues his target when rushing. Ezekiel Ansah has a good feel for the passing game. He is not afraid to jump up to block passes, and recorded nine pass breakups. He is such a force that opponents constantly send double team against Ansah.
A surprising (or maybe not so surprising) feature that was noticed on film was Ansah’s ability to adjust during a game. During the BYU-Boise State game, Ezekiel had poor form when playing from a defensive end stance. As the game went on, his form became better (straight back, starting from a low stance). All of these qualities can sometimes make people forget that he has no previous football experience.
Having no prior experience in football can still work against this dominant player. Ezekiel Ansah has very few techniques in his arsenal, and can be beaten by offensive linemen who understand how to take advantage of that. When Ansah makes an attempt to spin around the linemen, it appears sloppy and clumsy, and ineffective. Additionally, Ansah doesn’t appear to be coached to use his leverage to win against his blockers, often relying on raw strength. He can be rendered ineffective against a more experienced opponent (cfr: BYU-Notre Dame game).
It would serve Ansah well to develop a mean streak in his game. If he is able to develop a more violent and explosive first step, he can become a more effective pass rusher. Despite his ability to play multiple positions, he has glaring weaknesses in each of them. As a defensive end, Ansah doesn’t have suddenness and sometimes gets up late from his stance; losing any leverage he might have gain against his blocker. From a stand up position, as an outside linebacker, Ansah is a liability in coverage. And finally, he is undersized if he were to play defensive tackle in the NFL.
No notable injuries
Ezekiel Ansah experienced a near meteoric rise to the top of the draft, and would be surprising if he fell outside of the top-15 pick. Ansah is inexperienced, but takes to heart the coaches teaching. He may come in as one of the least technically versatile player, but he can be transformed into a fearsome defensive player. He fits as a Defensive End in a 4-3 Defensive Scheme, but also can play 3-4 Outside Linebacker as well. In terms of immediate impact, it may be better for Ansah to be a pass rusher, and attempt to develop his coverage skills. The least likely position in the NFL for Ansah is the Defensive Tackle.