Today we use our 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile to look at a player who has been mocked to the New York Giants on multiple occasions and (not so) coincidentally a guy who has been frequently compared to Jason Pierre-Paul when we take a look at Ghana-born Ezekiel Ansah.
Ansah was an avid basketball fan growing up and wanted to play basketball when he went to BYU, but he was cut at tryouts multiple times. Before he joined the football team he was a member of the track team. He decided to try out for the football team in 2010 and has been on the team since. In 2010 and 2011 he played primarily special teams, until he exploded onto the scene in 2012.
Ansah possess absolutely ideal size (listed at 6-foot-5, 270 pounds) and length for the position; he measured in at the Senior Bowl with north of 34-inch arms and an 82-inch wing span, which is "tree"mendous (sorry, couldn't help myself). Ansah has terrific straight line speed for a guy his position and a non-stop motor. Ansah plays with great commitment to the run. Ansah has a rare combination of size and athleticism and considering his experience does a good job using his arms to keep blockers off of him. He is also "country strong". He played a variety of positions for the Cougars (DE, NT, OLB). With his size, length, and foot speed he has a very high ceiling.
He is very inexperienced, and by that I mean that he has no idea how to set up a blocker to use pass rush moves, which he'll need to learn in the NFL. Even though he is very new to the game you can see that he is learning fast and his technique has vastly improved, which is a good sign that he takes to coaching well, but he still has a ways to go to be where he needs to be in the NFL. While Ansah has terrific straight line speed, he does not possess the same kind of freakishl athletic flexibility Pierre-Paul does to bend around the edge when he's rushing the passer. Ansah looked absolutely lost during Senior Bowl week practices when he was matched up one on one with blockers, but great in the actual game, and that inconsistency showed up throughout his year. Some have raised the question of fatigue for Ansah. It's not that he doesn't try hard all the time, but rather he hasn't gotten completely into football shape as a guy who plays all game long without becoming less productive. Remember prior to this year he weighed much less and had never taken consistent snaps.
Player comparison: Jason Pierre Paul (almost everyone), Justin Tuck (NFL.com)
Does He Fit With The Giants?
The Giants want well-built athletes at the defensive end position with long arms. Ansah has really long arms, a good build and terrific speed. Ansah's athleticism will appeal to every team in the league I imagine, and it just so happens the Giants know they have to improve their pass rush.
You won't be surprised to know that this video was cut up by @jmpasq
Big Board Rankings
Mocking the Draft-19th
Big Blue View Board-15th
In the NFL more often than not special players are special athletes. Ansah is a special athlete, which is why despite the relative lack of playing experience, despite looking absolutely lost at times, he's still 6-5, or 6-6 with an insane wing span, runs like a linebacker and he'll be coveted early in the draft. I think if he had a great Senior Bowl week he'd be a lock for a top 12 pick, and I think there's still a good chance he could be because of the recent impacts of players like Chandler Jones and Pierre-Paul. Those were two other players who did not put up good numbers their final senior seasons, but guys who possess a lot of size and athleticism and were both first round picks. Both players have been very good early in their careers. Teams know that they'll have to coach Ansah up, but he's been very coachable and it will surprise no one if he has a few Pro Bowl appearances in his future. There will also be some plays next year where he can't be blocked and he'll make a play, but for consistent impact it might be three years while he continues to grow as a football player.
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