When the Detroit Lions made Ziggy Ansah their first choice of the 2013 NFL Draft, they didn’t have visions of him playing like Brian Urlacher. That would be silly. Ansah and Urlacher play different positions and do different things.
But that doesn’t mean a comparison can’t be made. In fact, the man who coached Ansah and Urlacher in college did so today:
Bronco Mendenhall said Ziggy Ansah has the same work ethic that Brian Urlacher had when Mendenhall was with him in college.
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) April 26, 2013
There are certain to be factions of Lions fans who need to see Ansah on the field before they will ever warm up to this pick but there is plenty of reasons that while the Lions are taking a gamble, it is a worthwhile gamble. Yes, he is inexperienced but that doesn’t change the fact he has made a meteoric rise and seems to have the makeup necessary to keep that trajectory going.
There are no guarantees but Chris McCosky of the Detroit News pushes back on those who are so quick to believe Ansah will be a bust:
All this angst about a freakishly gifted athlete, a guy who is 6-foot-5, weighs 270 pounds, has a long reach (35-inch arm span), a good vertical leap (34.5 inches), huge hands (10.4 inches) and at the combine ran the 40-yard dash in 4,52, 4.56 and 4.68 seconds.
You know who this guy is, physically? He’s LeBron James without basketball skills.
You say, “Yeah, but he didn’t even know how to put his pads on three years ago. He was a special teams guy for two years and started only nine games at BYU last year. He’s too raw. It’s going to take at least two years to develop him.”
I might agree with that if he played quarterback, or defensive back or, really, any position other than defensive end. The vagaries of playing defensive end, especially in the Lions’ system, aren’t very daunting.
No one can be sure Ansah lives up to his potential but there is even less reason to believe he will be the Lions’ version of Darko Milicic. With his combination of phyiscal gifts and an Urlacher-like work ethic, Ansah might be a safer pick than some fans believe.