Before the 2012 football season, most BYU fans—or the nation, for that matter—had never heard of a 6'5", 271-pound Cougar from Ghana. But a few months later, the country noticed the athleticism and potential of Ezekiel Ansah, who could end up being drafted in the top five.
Ansah recorded a 4.63-second 40-yard dash while at the NFL combine, and he has been praised for a rare dose of agility for his size. Despite inexperience playing the sport, he has a great shot at being draft early on in the draft.
But what NFL teams have the best shot at landing Ansah? Here are a few programs that not only have shown interest in Ziggy, but have the right system for the defensive end to blossom in.
The landing spot for Ansah that makes the most sense would be to go fifth to the Detroit Lions. The Lions boast a dominant pair of linemen, Ndamunking Suh and Nick Fairley, who could help tutor Ziggy, and the Wide 9 defense that Detroit runs would show of Ansah's athleticism and give him more playmaking opportunities.
On top of that, the Lions coaching staff mentored Ziggy during the Senior Bowl, and they are familiar with his strengths and weaknesses. It would be good for Ansah to be around people he is familiar with—and with good defensive players around him.
The highest that Ziggy has a legitimate shot of being drafted at is second to Jacksonville, a team in desperate need of defensive standouts. The Jaguars averaged a sack once every 39.2 dropbacks by the opposing quarterbacks last season, which was worst in the NFL.
Ansah would definitely boost their pass-rushing ability, but I'm not sure he is ready to take a starting role his rookie season. It would be best for him to play under more experienced defensive ends for a few years, something Jacksonville cannot offer.
If Ansah were to still be available by the seventh pick, I can't see Arizona passing on him. They run a 3-4 defense, something that Ziggy played in at BYU, so it wouldn't be a huge adjustment strategically.
Darnell Dockett is on the decline, and Ansah could be a good option to be his replacement. Calais Campbell could be one to help train Ziggy in the sport, and if Ansah pans out to be a great player, the Cardinals could be a dangerous defensive team.
Sure, Chip Kelly may be a huge offensive coach, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him branch out and take a defensive player. Dion Jordan, a former defensive end/linebacker from Oregon may be the logical choice for Kelly, but they have shown legit interest in Ziggy.
Ansah went out to Philly for a private workout earlier this year, and is a good fit for the 3-4 defense that the Eagles may install. Ziggy is the definition of a boom-or-bust player, but only time will tell if he can become a great NFL star.