DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
Unless they make a move in free agency, or a major trade, pass rush help will be a major priority for the Browns come draft weekend. The usual suspects connected to Cleveland in mock drafts are Barkevious Mingo and Damontre Moore, but BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah could end up topping the Browns’ wish list. Ansah came out of nowhere in 2012 to become one of the more intriguing defensive prospects available. His unique blend of size and athleticism make him a fit for virtually any defensive alignment. After a solid week of practices and a strong Senior Bowl last month, Ansah has made his presence known to all football fans, and he very well could find his way into the top five this April.
Ezekiel Ansah Brigham Young 6’5 ¼” 272
Known around campus as “Ziggy”, Ansah came to BYU by way of Ghana as a track athlete. He had never played organized football before joining the team as a sophomore in 2010. As a 23 year old senior, Ansah began turning the heads of the draft community after barely registering with people prior to the season.
Ansah is a physical specimen who plays with optimum effort. He’s able to use his immense strength to fight through and discard blockers, and he does an excellent job sliding down the line of scrimmage to stop the run. Ansah exhibits tremendous upper body strength and sometimes turns opposing blockers into rag dolls. He constantly gets his arms out in front and uses his hands to fight off blocks inside and outside to stuff runs at, or behind the line of scrimmage. Considering his experience level, Ansah is a disciplined player. Against Utah State, he spun off a block to the outside to corral the running back after a short pass play. Against Boise State this season he came out on the punt team and promptly cast aside a blocker to blow up an attempt at a fake.
BYU will line Ansah up inside and outside to take advantage of matchups. His power and consistent effort make him a force in goal line situations. In one sequence against Boise he made back-to-back stops despite the Broncos trying to run the ball away from him.
Still learning technique, Ansah is developing a pass rush repertoire. Along with a bull rush and spin move, he’s able to cross the face of the tackle and get pressure back to the inside – a trick that earned him a sack in the Utah State game earlier this season. If he can’t get penetration, Ansah does well get his arms up and bat down passes or disrupt throwing lanes. Once in a while he will drop into coverage, but he displays plus closing speed once the quarterback breaks the pocket.
Ansah’s journey to football stardom and experience level make him a unique prospect. But he’s been a quick study up to this point, showing remarkable development in under three seasons of football. He is a little older than other players in this class, but is still young enough that age shouldn’t factor into his selection. With the ability he’s shown so far this year, Ansah has a good chance to go from relative unknown last season to first round pick in April.
Vs. Boise State (’12)
- Uses strength to discard a blocker, stays at home and stuffs a fake punt.
- Hurdles a cut block attempt and gets his arms up to disrupt the passing lane.
- Fights off a block and slides outside to stop a run near the line of scrimmage (LOS).
- Good effort, stays with the play and gets a coverage sack.
- Gets his arms up again and bats a pass down at the LOS.
- Fights a block off to the inside to stop a draw near the LOS. Unblocked, good penetration to stuff a run away from his side near the goal line (GL).
- Fights through a block inside and gets a TFL near the GL.
- Constantly gets his arms out in front and fights off blocks inside and outside to get stops at or behind the LOS
Vs. Utah (’12)
- Lines up inside and fights/slides down the line to the right to make a stop at the LOS.
- Looks to have a really strong upper body and just pushes guys around sometimes.
- Doesn’t have the best assortment of moves so he could be so much more dangerous with coaching.
- Runs a stunt and powers thru a double team – pushes the OL back into the QB.
- Drops into coverage then closes so quickly as the QB rolls out
Vs. Utah State (’12)
- Shows some discipline and spins off to the outside to tackle the RB after a short pass.
- Lines up inside and shows some good strength to stand his ground and make a run stop after a short gain.
- Overpowers the RT and works his way back into the QB for a coverage sack.
- Beats the RT inside across the face for another sack.
- Clear that he has a lot of power.
- Looks like he will benefit from NFL coaching.
- Effort doesn’t seem to be an issue and he seems to stick to his assignments.
- Uses long arms to get into the chest and discard the RT to apply instant pressure and force a throw away.
- Gets up in the air with his arms extended to disrupt the passing lane
Vs. Notre Dame (’12)
- Good job recognizing the run and sliding inside for a TFL.
- He will line up inside at DT on some passing downs.
- Frequently draws a double team when lined up inside.
- Makes a couple of run stops near the LOS but not a very impactful game