MIKE O'HARA

Ziggy Ansah fills Lions need for a pass rusher

Posted Apr 25, 2013

There is no question about Ansah’s athletic ability, but there are many questions about his experience

Ziggy AnsahDE Ziggy Ansah
The Lions used the draft to bet on potential and the future.

They filled a need for a pass-rusher by taking Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, a talented but inexperienced defensive end from Brigham Young.

There is no question about Ansah’s athletic ability, but there are many questions about his experience. Ansah came to the United States from Ghana and played football for only three years at BYU, and only then after being cut twice from the school’s basketball team.

Ansah had 4.5 sacks in the 2012 season, but he dominated the Senior Bowl with an outstanding performance.

There was no denying the Lions need for a pass-rushing end. Both starters from last year are gone. Kyle Vanden Bosch was released in March, and Cliff Avril signed with Seattle as a free agent.

The only starter on the roster is Jason Jones, a free agent who played for Seattle last season and was signed by the Lions to play left end.

It’s a big-potential, big-risk pick by the Lions. Time will tell if it works out.

Before the Lions took Ansah at No. 5, the draft was dominated by offensive tackles, with three going in the first four picks.

The Lions were spectators, with four teams picking ahead of them, when the draft began officially at 8:08 p.m., with the Kansas City Chiefs on the clock with the first pick.

The Chiefs took almost the full 10 minutes before ending the suspense and taking offensive tackle Eric Fisher of Central Michigan – one of the players the Lions gladly would have taken at No. 5.

It was a good night for Fisher and Metro Detroit. He grew up in Rochester Hills and went to Stoney Creek High School.

“I can’t even process what’s happening now,” Fisher said in a TV interview. “This is a dream come true. I can’t understand what’s going on. What an honor. What an honor.”

For the Lions and other teams waiting their turn, there was no defense – barring a major trade up. All they could do was wait and watch players go off the board.

Instead of a 1-2 run on quarterbacks like last year, it was 1-2 for offensive tackles when Jacksonville took Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M to be their left tackle.

The first trade came with the third pick, when Oakland dealt it to the Miami Dolphins, who moved up from No. 12.

Miami broke the tackle train, taking Dion Jordan, a rangy pass-rusher from Oregon who can play outside linebacker or defensive end, depending on the scheme.

Two picks to go, with only the Eagles ahead of them, before the Lions made their pick, and the tackle train continued when Philly took Lane Johnson of Oklahoma.

That made three offensive tackles in the first four picks.