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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Comprehensive NFL Combine recap for BYU's Ezekiel Ansah

Brigham Young Cougars defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah was put under the microscope and sent through a gauntlet of rigorous testing at the NFL's annual Draft Combine in Indianapolis this past week. The native of Ghana, Africa took a "don't think, just have fun" attitude as if he was chilling on the African Savannah. Ansah tested well and receiving glowing reviews from all the experts.

Ansah checked in at 6-foot-5, and 271 pounds (down three pounds from the Senior Bowl last month).

ADDRESSING THE MEDIA
On Saturday, February 23, he met with the media. The media got a kick out of Ansah's personality. He explained that he was motivated to work hard and keep improving by a goal to be the best defensive end in the NFL. Ansah told the reporters that he thought he was "pretty good at what I'm doing," even if everyone else keeps calling him "raw." Ansah also shared that staying on course during the NFL draft and transition process was so important to him that he sought guidance from Heavenly Father every day in his prayers.

ESNP's reaction to Ansah's media interview can be found by clicking here. You can watch and listen to Ansah address the media in this nearly four minute video below. 



TESTING
Ansah started slow on the tests with just 21 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press. Only four defensive linemen tested worse, and Alex Okafor from the University of Texas had the same number. On Monday, February 25, Ansah buried any concerns over the bench press results with superb test results in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle. He was the best defensive lineman at the combine in the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.26 seconds. The table below lists Ansah's test results and how they compared to the other defensive linemen.

Test Ansah DL Rank Best DL
40-yard dash 4.63 6 4.57
Vertical Jump 34.5" 7 (tie) 38"
Broad Jump 118" 10 (tie) 128"
3-Cone Drill 7.11 10 6.84
20-Yard Shuttle 4.26 1 --
Bench Press 21 32 (tie) 38

To add a little perspective on Ansah's top finish in the 20-yard shuttle, the top defensive lineman at the 2012 combine was Bruce Irvin with a time of 4.03 seconds. In fact, nine of the defensive linemen at the combine last year had better times than Ansah. Two years ago, J.J. Watt did the 20-yard shuttle in 4.21 seconds.

Conversely, looking at the 40-yard dash times from 2012, Ansah would have tied for second behind Irvin's 4.50 seconds.

REACTION FROM THE EXPERTS
The NFL experts were smitten with Ansah after these test results.

ESPN's John Clayton said Ansah might have moved himself in to the top 15, said he "looked sensational in drills," and had become "the fastest-rising player in the draft."

Click here to read more from Clayton about Ansah.

Bucky Brooks from NFL.com was impressed with Ansah's athleticism and explosiveness, and echoed Claytons comments about Ansah's performance in position drills and the direction of his draft stock.

Click here to read more from Brooks about Ansah. 

NFL Network expert Daniel Jeremiah said Ansah's decision to run the 40 was a "wise decision." He also said he would be "very surprised" if Ansah was still available after the pick number 15. Jeremiah called Ansah's field workout "excellent."

Click here to read more from Jeremiah about Ansah.

Tony Pauline with the USA Today placed Ansah in his group of fast rising defensive linemen. He pointed out that Ansah had a swift 1.64 second 10-yard split in the 40-yard dash.

Click here to read more from Pauline about Ansah.

Other notable quotes came from former NFL player Warren Sapp, former NFL coach Steve Marriucci, and Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew (the Lions hold the fifth pick).

Sapp said, "You get a guy that size who is that athletic, you want him."

Marriucci said, “You’ve got coaches in the stands going, ‘I want to get my hands on that guy, because I can do some creative things him’, he’s such a great athlete. He’s going to be a project, but a fun project.”

Mayhew said, "Ansah is a guy who has been playing football for two years who is a freak athletically. I just think he has tremendous upside. What this guy will be able to do in three or four years … you get a guy like that and the sky's the limit."

VIDEO LINKS

Interview with Daniel Jeremiah and Sam Wyche

40 yard dash

Charles Davis, Steve Mariucci, Warren Sapp

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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