2013 NFL Draft: Ezekiel Ansah Scouting Report
It took until Senior Bowl week, but the nation finally started to realize what BYU already knew, that Ezekiel Ansah is an athletic freak from the defensive end position. The young pass rusher shot up draft boards following a stellar performance in Mobile. He is now considered a first-round prospect by a multitude of experts around the world of football. Here is my scouting report on the talented defender.
Power and Build: At 6'6" and 270 pounds, Ansah has the build to play with his hands down at the line and standing up as an outside linebacker. He has long arms and amazing upper-body strength. He is the type of player that can bull rush past both interior and exterior offensive linemen.
Athleticism: An absolute freak would probably come to mind here first. He will be able to beat offensive tackles around the outside and use above-average technique and footwork to drive inside towards the quarterback. These are a couple things you really don't see from individuals with just three years of football experience under their belt.
Explosive: Ansah gets off the snap extremely quick. He will beat blockers to the point of contact and utilize that amazing strength to throw them into the offensive backfield. You put these two aspects together and come away with someone that should be able to make an immediate impact at the next level.
Effort: The BYU product does not take plays off on the football field. He goes 100 percent for 60 minutes, which is a lot more than you can say about certain first-round prospects (Sam Montgomery comes to mind). Whether he is taken out of the play from the outside, Ansah will find a way to get himself back into it, even down the field. He has a drive that doesn't quit.
Experience: As I mentioned before, Ansah has played only three seasons of organized football after playing basketball before. With this inexperience comes technique issues and struggles against the run.
Rush Defense: Due to a high motor and solid get off at the line, Ansah can struggle against the run. He will get up field early in the player, which will create holes for running backs. We have seen this in the past with other "raw" pass-rush specialists such as: Aldon Smith and Elvis Dumervil. Once Ansah gains experience, this shouldn't be a major issue.
Fit: It remains to be seen where Ansah fits the best in the NFL. He can play anywhere from a 4-3 defensive tackle to a 3-4 outside linebacker. While that can be seen as a positive for potential teams moving forward, it can also cause issues as it relates to being a player without a position.
Ansah possesses the highest upside of any front-seven player in the entire draft. He has a chance to be truly elite at the next level. A rare combination of speed, build and strength leads me to believe that the BYU product will be an immediate impact performer at the next level. His best fit, however, is as a 3-4 outside linebacker. This means that Ansah will likely be used as a pass-rush specialist early in his career, limiting his production to two downs as a rookie. That being said, it wouldn't surprise me to see him tally 10-plus sacks as a rookie as long as he is in the right scheme.