After posting a career-low in sacks in 2016, can elite pass rusher Ziggy Ansah regain his previous Pro Bowl form this season for the Detroit Lions?
Since being drafted fifth overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah has been a pass rushing force for the Detroit Lions. But last season, ankle and shoulder injuries hindered the young defensive end and limited him to a career-low 2.0 sacks in 13 games.
The year before, in 2015, Ansah earned his first Pro Bowl nomination after posting 47 total tackles, a career-high 14.5 sacks and forcing four fumbles. Ziggy was also named the the NFL’s All-Pro second team.
So, now the question is whether Ansah’s struggles from last year were simply an aberration and the result of his injuries or an indication of something more. And the fact Ziggy is in a contract year makes the answer even more important.
But according to one Lions’ insider, he expects Ansah to get back on track in 2017.
"“Ansah did not require surgery on his ankle, but the Lions still eased him back into the flow of things this spring,” wrote Dave Birkett for the Detroit Free Press. “He’s entering the final season of his contract and stands to earn generational money if he has a big year. Sixteen players reached double-digit sacks last season, and just one – Atlanta’s Vic Beasley – topped 14. Ansah is a talented enough player that a 12-sack season is well within his reach.”"
Scheduled to become a free agent in 2018, Ansah along with quarterback Matthew Stafford are expected to receive large extensions at some point this year. Although Ziggy could be a franchise tag target next season if Detroit decides to wait and see if he regains his previous Pro Bowl-level production before extending him.
During his four-years in the Motor City, Ziggy Ansah has recorded 163 total tackles, 32.0 sacks and nine forced fumbles for the Detroit Lions. There is no reason to think the 28-year old won’t record double-digit sacks and return to the Pro Bowl in 2017.