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Friday, March 8, 2013

Ziggy Watch: March 1-8; Detroit, Cleveland, and New York possible destinations

The attention that Brigham Young Cougars defensive end Ezekiel Ansah is receiving has grown rapidly since the NFL Draft Combine ended. No BYU football player has received this kind of attention as the NFL Draft approached in well over a decade. During the season, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said that more NFL team scouts and executives were on campus inquiring about Ansah than he had seen for all other players combined during his tenure.

BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL will endeavor to chronicle the coverage of Ansah leading up to the NFL Draft on April 25 when Ansah could be one of the first players to hear his name called. Each Friday, Ziggy Watch will wrap up what is new about Ansah during the last week--where is he in the latest mock drafts, what teams are showing the most interest, who is tweeting about him, and anything else interesting that pops up.


Mock Drafts/Big Boards
On March 1, Daniel Jeremiah with NFL.com came out with his third mock draft, and had Ansah being taken by the Detroit Lions with the fifth pick overall.

Of Ansah, Jeremiah said, "This looks like a reach on the surface, but after studying this situation, it makes a lot of sense. The Lions have huge needs at pass rusher and cornerback. There will be plenty of quality cornerbacks available in the second round, but the edge-rush pool is shallow. Ansah dominated the Senior Bowl game while playing in the Lions' defensive scheme."

The next day, March 2, Kevin Seifert, who writes the NFC North Blog for ESPN.com, "for the fun of it" broke down the Ansah to Detroit move. Seifert pointed out that ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have Ansah rated as the no. 8 and no. 12 best prospect, respectively, on their big boards. An analysis from Bill Polian is also included.

By March 6, Ansah was projected as the fifth pick in two other mock drafts--ESPN Analyst Todd McShay and CBSSports.com's Pat Kirwan, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. McShay's mock draft got the most attention nationally. Several outlets did a write up about it, such as The Detroit News, The Oakland Press, and Pride of Detroit.

There was also chatter about the Cleveland Browns picking Ansah with the sixth pick. The News-Herald was the first to discuss it on March 4. ESPNCleveland.com came out with its Mock Draft 2.0 on March 8, and had the Browns selecting Ansah. The Lions were projected to take Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. Addressing the issue of Ansah being a "project" player, ESPNCleveland.com reasoned, "I see no reason to change this pick at this time. Ansah is a certifiable project. But most any college rusher projected into an NFL 3-4 defense is the same."

NFLDraftScout.com published a mock draft on March 4 that had Ansah being taken by the New York Jets with the ninth pick. This mock draft also had Detroit selecting Milliner. The Browns were projected to select Barkevrius Mingo, outside linebacker, from LSU. The reasoning for picking Ansah was this:

"The Jets need a lot of help in several areas, mostly on offense, including the quarterback position. But the Jets have struggled to put pressure on the opponents' backfield and Ansah provides position versatility to line up all over the defensive front-seven."

Prospectus
Many BYU fans were aware of Ansah before the 2012 season. He was a practice field legend because of his size and speed. To the rest of the nation, he remained the best kept secret in America even while staring the last two-thirds of his senior season. This has prompted many outlets to publish special stories about Ansah to help their fans/readers become more aware of him.

The San Diego Chargers are one outlet in particular. This prospectus was published on the teams' official webpage.

Bo Marchionte with College2Pro.com published this prospectus of Ansah. It includes an exclusive 8-minute interview with Ansah from the Senior Bowl.

Analysis
Top picks in the NFL draft are put under the microscope. Every expert weighs in with an opinion about the strengths, weaknesses, and how the player's career could turn out. This week included the following:
Other Stories
Ansah also make the news for other reasons this week. Such as his continued influence on BYU football. Word got out to the National Football Post that Ansah didn't hire a trainer to prepare for the NFL Draft Combine. The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel spotlighted Ansah as one of three foreign player who are "spicing up" this year's NFL draft.

SBNation added a little humor with a piece about a question Ansah received from the media at the combine about the wildlife he saw while living in Africa. The story originated from a tweet by Gil Brandt, which was retweeted by Bomani Jones to his 101,503 followers.

Twitter
And then, there is Twitter. No chronicling of Ansah's journey to the NFL draft would be complete without some of the reaction from virtually anybody on Twitter.

Todd McShay gave some insight on Twitter as to why he thinks Ansah is a good pick for Detroit at number five.
Dion Caputi from National Football Post provided shared some of his evaluation of Ansah in two tweets.  
There was no shortage of Cleveland Browns fans tweeting about the possibility of Ansah joining the franchise.  
Browns 101 thought taking Ansah might be a better idea than picking up free agent James Harrison. He also had some thoughts about the characterization that Ansah is raw.  
Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal pointed out a potential problem for Ansah if he was to join the Browns.  
A knowledgeable New York Jets fan had this to say about Ansah:

Whoever drafts Ansah will do so with the intention of seeing him terrorize quarterbacks, but he might start doing it during the draft by causing West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith to fall to seventh or lower. 





Finally, for those still holding out hope that Ansah becomes the first overall pick, here is some random guy named Jack who is warming up to that idea. 


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

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