The Detroit Lions weren’t scared off by Ziggy Ansah having played only three years of football when they drafted him No. 5 overall in last year’s draft.
The front office and coaching staff fell in love with the defensive end’s enormous athletic ability and got to know him closely when Detroit coached him at the Senior Bowl last year.
Ansah made an immediate impact in Detroit when he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown on the fourth snap of his first preseason game.
He continued to be productive throughout his rookie year and was voted by his teammates as the Mel Farr Rookie of the Year.
The Mel Farr Award is presented to the team’s outstanding rookie performer and is given in honor of the Lions’ Mel Farr who enjoyed one of the finest rookie campaigns in team history. In that 1967 season, Farr led Detroit in both rushing (860 yards on 206 carries) and receiving (39 catches for 317 yards) and tied for the club lead in scoring with six touchdowns. As a result, he was named the Lions’ Offensive MVP and was honored as the NFL Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News.
Ansah led all NFL rookies with eight sacks, a total that ranks second behind
With two sacks in back-to-back games against Tampa Bay (Nov. 24) and Green Bay (Nov. 28), Ansah became the first Lions player with two-plus sacks in back-to-back games since defensive end Cliff Avril in 2011.
Ansah is still a pretty raw product and will only continue to get better.