Ever since he became a starter in game five of the 2012 season, Brigham Young Cougars defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah has been climbing up the NFL draft boards. By the end of the season, Ansah had almost assured himself a spot in the first round. With the evaluation process now in full force, the question has become just how high Ansah can rise in the NFL Draft.
As noted Wednesday on this site, the first overall pick has not been ruled out by some NFL draft experts. Most of BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL's visitors don't expect Ansah to have his name called first. In a recent poll question on the site, just six percent of voters selected "first overall pick." The most popular response to the poll question was picks "11-20" with 40 percent of the vote. The latter third of the first round (21-32) was the second most popular choice with 25 percent of the vote. Fifteen percent of voters think Ansah's stock will rise high enough that he is taken somewhere between picks "2-10." Just 11 percent think he will be a second round pick, and two percent voted for "third round or later." The final one percent of voters were undecided.
The latest mock drafts aren't too different. On January 21, CBS Sports had Ansah being taken with either the 15th pick to the New Orleans Saints or the 19th pick to the New York Giants. Yesterday (Jan. 24), the Sporting News put out an updated mock draft and Ansah was projected to be taken with pick 29 by the New England Patriots.
With the draft still three months away and the NFL Draft Combine still forthcoming, it is difficult to say with much certainty where a player will be drafted. I think the 11-20 range is the safe spot to project Ansah. The draft operates just like any other open market economy: supply and demand. History shows that the demand for players like Ansah is in this mid-first round range. Teams will trade up in the draft to take Ansah if they really want/need him. They won't expect him to be around in the mid 20s.
Ansah can increase the demand for his services by playing well in the Senior Bowl tomorrow and by blowing everyone away at the combine in February, including a fantastic Wonderlic score. He would separate himself from other defensive ends creating a shortage in supply for players like him. In that case, I would expect Ansah to be taken in the first 10 picks.
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