#47 Ezekiel Ansah
Ezekiel Ziggy Ansah seemingly has left many puzzled as to what his ceiling could be in the NFL. He draws comparisons to guys like Jason Pierre Paul and undeniably has high upside and potential to be a difference maker. The following will delve into Ziggys strengths, weaknesses, and questions surrounding him. We’ll primarily be using video evidence with time pins so as to let the tape answer our doubts. The tape never lies friends! Less do this!
Intangibles: 6’6, 270ib, runs 4.6 40, and arms 35 1/8
Let’s start by evaluating his strengths relating to the needs of the chargers.
Sean Phillips overall play against the run was very suspect as he offered little speed or sharpness in covering the edge. Ansah exceeds in run support. His continual hustle to the running back, whether it’s off the edge or around line, is unlike anything you’ll see for a guy this size! It’s this aspect of the game where he really shows off that 4-6-40 speed.
0:14 Utah s – Notice his awareness of a possible screen, the speed to run down the RB
2:59 GT – SPEED
2:49 Idaho – Second level ability shown
3:09 Idaho – Reminds me of a guy named Clowney
8:47 Utah – Powering through the line. At NT
Pass Rush/ Pressure.
Here’s where a theory I had comes into play. First let me say Ansah showed great speed, agility, and power to sack the QB from almost every direction, including Nose tackle. His ability to pressure on almost every position on the D-line was key to many game changing plays. Understand though that BYU plays a 3-4 D like the Bolts. The point of the 3-4 being to disguise where the fourth rusher/ OLB will come from. The DE for a 3-4 then would have to be a large D-linemen who would command double teams, but can also rush the passer.
With that in mind understand that in the 9 games I saw Ziggy Ansah play, and the 3 or 4 times I saw each of those games, 90% of the time he lined up as a 3-4 DE. I’m gonna say what many people have seen and concluded from watching multiple tape, Ezekiel Ziggy Ansah is NOT a 3-4 DE!! In fact this is probably the most impressive thing about him, seeing “that he's still even halfway decent at the position they put him.” Still despite this it seemed his “physical skillset and sheer talent made up for him being out of position” and still allowed him to be a dominant force. Make no mistake, Ezekiel Ziggy Ansah is a 4-3 DE/ 3-4 OLB. Lets see why…
3-4 DE should have the power and mass to take on double teams and push back Gaurds. This was not Ziggys strong suit. PFF agrees with this and goes a bit further...”3-4 nose tackles can control their gaps on the interior with sheer bulk (in short areas their strength and size is paramount), but on the edge, against taller tackles, 5-technique players need not just size but ‘length’ (height and arm length combined). At 6’4 and 290lbs, Justin Smith has the requisite size, length and agility to dominate this position; he also has fearsome strength.” (Monson, Sam: Defensive Prototypes: Defensive Line [PFF])
Cory Liuget, 6’2 300ib and JJ Watt, 6’5 290, are also your typical 3-4 DE. Ziggy most times cannot generate the power at his height and lack of weight (6’6, 270). He’s a guy that has tremendous speed to the outside, power on situations 1on1 vs Tackles, height to match the bigger Tackles, very long arms, and shown ability to get around the corner. His ability and skill set dictate the position of 4-3 DE, 3-4 OLB, OR 3-4 “Jack” OLB.
Pro 3-4 OLB:
1:47 idaho – takes the tackle and runs the edge like an olb
4:14 utah s – perfect expl! Speed around the edge!
4:44 utah s – Since when do DE go into coverage running down slot recievers?
0:10 Wash – More of a 4-3 look, but still pressure off the edge
4:27 GT – Perfect expl! Lines up at DE, yet (cause of ABILITY) rushes edge like Suggs
Despite this OLB anomaly though, he was still a pretty darn good DE!
WEAKNESSES and QUESTIONS
We seem to understand his weakness in the 3-4 DE position. The more video you watch the more you see and understand what I and many others have seen overtime.
He had trouble versus the read option, though he seemed to adapt as the game went on.
There were a few occasions were he dropped into coverage and looked good while doing it. Still he was never put into the position of an OLB to cover TE or RB. We can assume though this won’t be a steep learning curve being that many times he single handedly sniffed out screens and chased down backs of the corner.
SO WHATS WITH THE WHOLE OLB/DE THING??? IS ZIGGY AN OLB OR NOT??
This is a question I’ve been trying to answer for a while; and it can lead to concerning answers. One obvious answer is that the BYU d-coordinator didn’t think Ansah could play OLB correctly. Another source said that he’s only a “north to South” type of guy. But did we not see for ourselves that Ziggy is capable of beating the Tackle off the edge? His whole skill set points to this.
Another answer I’ve come up with is that BYU already had a very skilled set of Linebackers to play 3-4. Most of them seemed just as fast, if not, faster than ansah and very skilled! One of these guys is the explosive Kyle Van Noy who came off a 13 SACK season!
Van Noy, paired with Spencer Hadley on the other side, and ILB Brandon Ogletree proved a deadly trio and cemented BYUs defense as a top 10 in the nation.
Also, did you notice any other DE or DT pressuring the QB other than Ansah? Friends I’ve watched 9 games thoroughly and found it rare that any other DE or DT would get any pressure. This leads me to believe BYU had a serious hole at D-line and was forced to use Ansah more than they would have liked at the DE position. BYU entire d-line as a whole, other than Ziggy, actually got 10 sacks compared to Ziggys 4.5; so that sort of negates my argument.
It’s these questions and assumptions in Ziggys game though that has left draft analyzers wondering. Is he a 3-4 OLB? Maybe, I feel the tape proves he definitely has the ability, even though its hard to say because we never have gotten a full sample size. Is he a 3-4 DE? If he adds weight and polishes his technique, sure! If he doesn’t add weight, I guarantee no more than 3 or 4 sacks a year at 3-4 DE. Remember though that this man only has played three years of ball with his 2012 campaign being his first as full time starter. Many are using this to say that his understanding of the game is lacking and he is far too raw. At the same time though, how many guys walk into America, decide to play football, and in three years look like a top 15 prospect with seemingly untapped ability? NOT MANY.
I write this article though because Tom Telesco says what others have said in that this is a draft where he’s not sure who will take whom. No one seems guaranteed at a certain spot. That said, along with some of the overrated talk popping up about Ansah, it may be that a team like the lions may pass on Ansah, maybe feeling he’s too raw.
If that is the case, then the 2013 chargers may have a shot at one of the most talented prospects in this years draft!