NFL Draft 2013 Spotlight: Ezekiel Ansah

Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE

An in-depth look at BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah, a player often mocked to the Saints by NFL draft analysts.

BYU defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah has got to be considered the second most likely player to be drafted by the Saints this year, behind Dion Jordan, if we're to believe all of the analysts and experts.

Ansah is a native of Ghana, who went to BYU with hopes of moving on to the NBA. When tryouts for the basketball team didn't go well, he started playing football halfway through his college career. After only 10 special teams tackles his junior year, Ansah bulked up to 270 lbs. and turned heads his senior season. He was versatile enough that his coaches moved him all over the field in 2012, including stand-up rush linebacker (left, right and middle), classic defensive end (left, right) and even nose guard.

The reports on Ansah are glowing despite being a raw talent with very little seasoning. He's been compared to both Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul, both of whom are the type of player the Saints could definitely use to bolster their defensive line.

I'll let the experts take it over from here. Then share your own thoughts on whether Ansah would be a good fit for this changing Saints defense.

Strengths

NFL.com

Combination of size, length, and foot speed is nearly unparalleled. Delivers solid first contact that jolts opponent back. Continues to press and locate ball carriers in the backfield. Consistently sheds at the line of scrimmage, envelopes his target with a strong grasp and outstanding closing burst. Flashes the complete package, specifically when rushing from the edge on passing downs. When lining up inside a natural anchor shows up, helped by low pad level off the snap. Burst off of extension is counter move, gains significant ground on target. Obvious coaching on technique is absorbed and implemented.

CBS.com

Rare combination of size, athleticism and natural power. Has a long, well-distributed frame with room for additional muscle mass without a significant loss of quickness. Flashes an explosive initial punch to the offensive lineman to gain space.

Possesses rare balance that allows him to maintain his feet despite taking long-strides that gobble up space between he and the quarterback with surprising speed. Balance and surprising lateral agility is also evident in changing directions. Has good -- not great -- strength but very good natural explosiveness to bull rush his opponent into the pocket.

Slips off blocks when the ball-carrier is near, latching on with his long arms and big hands for the drag-down tackle. Seemed to improve nearly game to game in 2012, especially when it came to locating the football. Began to sniff out screens and draws as the season wore on, demonstrating good awareness and hustle to complement his physical traits. Already shows excellent recognition and use of hands in pass defense, getting his hands up to knock down nine passes in 2012.

Possesses significant untapped potential and is an ascending talent whose best football is ahead of him.

Weaknesses

NFL.com

Has admitted to a lack of stamina. Fatigue is noticeable after a few plays of rushing the passer. In those circumstances, does not chase the play down from the backside, instead staying at the line of scrimmage to knock down the pass. Technique is not always there, specifically on the edge against the run. Frequently gives up the wrong arm or shoulder to blockers, takes himself out of the play. Hand fights at the line against the run rather than driving or penetrating to disrupt. A hit or miss player on the field but consistency is growing.

CBS.com

Lacks elite first-step quickness off the snap. Relies too much on his speed, size and an explosive first punch to shock his opponent with his initial surge, struggling to break free if the blocker grabs a hold of Ansah's jersey or chest plate.

Must learn to chop with his hands most consistently and powerfully to break free once engaged. Allows his pad level to rise and can be pushed back in the running game. Has only played football since 2010 and has just one season as a starter.

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