After the Detroit Lions took Ziggy Ansah fifth overall in last year’s draft there where questions about how long it would take a player who’s only been playing the game three years to be a consistent contributor in the NFL.
Ansah let his play answer those questions rather quickly as he led all rookies – and the Lions – with eight sacks. He also finished with 32 tackles (seven for loss) and forced two fumbles.
By all accounts, the Lions seem to have struck gold with Ansah, 24, and he’s only going to get better.
"It was a good year," Ansah said after cleaning out his locker earlier this week. "It was my first year in the league and I thought I did pretty good compared to the other (rookie defensive ends)."
The focus now shifts to offseason training for Ansah, who says he’s going to enlist the help of Lions Pro Bowl defensive tackle
"I’ve been through it and now I know what to expect, so I’m going to make sure I do everything right," Ansah said. "He’s (Suh) going to lead me and guide me into doing some stuff right and I’ll probably work out with him. It will be good for me."
It certainly would.
Suh has come into training camp each of the last four seasons in top-notch shape. He’s such a terrific athlete, and takes care of his body so well in the offseason, that endurance is never a concern for coaches. Suh played at least 82 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in 11 games this year. He had four games where that percentage was over 90 percent.
If Ansah comes to training camp in that kind of shape and continues to refine his game, he could really take off next year.
"The sky is the limit," Ansah said. "I’m never going to back down or stop working."