Why Ezekiel Ansah Has the Most Upside of Any Player in 2013 NFL Draft Class

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IMarch 4, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 27: Tevin Washington #13 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets pressured by Ezekiel Ansah #47 of the BYU Cougars at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Ezekiel is a Biblical name roughly defined as "God strengthens," and although Ansah doesn't have a definitive meaning, it might as well be "the guy with unlimited NFL upside."

In full, the name of BYU defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah would translate to "God strengthens the guy with unlimited NFL upside", and it'd be appropriate. 

At 6'5'' and 271 pounds, Ansah ran a blistering 4.63 in his 40-yard dash, displayed a 34.5-inch vertical and his time of 4.26 in the 20-yard shuttle was the fastest among all defensive linemen at the 2013 Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. 

But he's infinitely more intriguing than the plethora of workout warriors who've come before him. 

The Ghana native not only epitomizes football "rawness" and "untapped potential", he transcends it as a truly never-before-seen prospect.

Per Dan Pompei of the National Football Post, Ansah "kept going to class and never worked with an outside trainer to prepare for the combine." He also wrote "the 40 yard dash he ran at the combine was the first of his life, according to his agent Frank Bauer."


Yeah, really impressive.

Now, it's important to note the wording of Pompei's report—Ansah didn't work with an "outside trainer", so it didn't rule out Ansah working by himself in the months leading up to the physically taxing NFL job interview. But in this day and age, anything less than rigorous training with a world-class professional certainly isn't a popular practice. 

What's more, football is new to Ansah. 

Extremely new. 

I wish I had more time with Ansah. Love Ziggy's story. We chatted Sat. Never HEARD of football before 2009. Had no idea who Dick Butkus is.

— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) February 26, 2013

Hard to believe, isn't it? 

What's more, after running track at BYU and failing to the make the basketball team, Ansah was merely special teams ace in 2011 and entered his senior season with 10 career tackles and no starts.

Though Jason Pierre-Paul, quite the talented and raw prospect in his own respect, played only one full season at the University of South Florida, he was a productive member of two junior college teams before transferring to the Division I school. 

However, at nearly the same size as Ansah in 2010, JPP was slower, measured in with shorter arms, and simply wasn't as physically spectacular at his combine.

After an uninspiring week of Senior Bowl practice, a sentiment arose that Ansah was simply a special athlete trying to play football, a project that would end badly. 

But he was the most dominating force during the game, leading the way with seven tackles, 3.5 of which went for a loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. 

Schwartz asked about Ziggy Ansah's play at the Senior Bowl after a so-so week of practice: "Allen Iverson"

— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) February 21, 2013

He is legitimately in the embryonic stage as a player—really, there's no telling how good he could be with the proper coaching and situation.

Ezekiel Ansah's size, natural athleticism and newness to football make him the prospect with the most upside in the 2013 draft class, an unprecedented amount at that.