The Detroit Lions have finally ended all the projections and guesswork about who they would take in the first round, taking Ezekiel Ansah with the fifth overall pick. After coaching him in the Senior Bowl, the Lions knew him better than any other NFL team, and obviously they think that they will be able to unlock that immense potential that he has.
Ansah blew up at the NFL Scouting Combine, where at 270 pounds he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash and managed a 35" vertical leap. However, on the field he looks even more athletic. He has the flexibility, power and burst to dominate anyone in the NFL athletically. He can beat people with speed outside and also has the power and quickness to beat people inside with counter moves.
Ansah is also a very promising run defender. He has the length to fend off blockers and a knack to fend off blockers. He is also a good tackler.
In all, Ansah's best-case scenario for development is Jason Pierre-Paul. If he develops, he is the sort of elite defensive end that a team can build a pass rush around. And especially for the Lions, who already have Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley at defensive tackle, adding Ansah could give them one of the greatest defensive lines ever.
There is real risk with this pick though. Ansah is already older than most rookies, and he is also one of the least experienced. Therefore, if his development is not that quick, then he could well be a 30-year-old before he really starts to impact games. Ansah is also a real boom-or-bust pick, and if he does not pan out, then it could spell the end of the Martin Mayhew era.
However, all in all, this was a good pick. While a trade back would have been good given the run on offensive tackles at the top of the draft, Ansah was the best player available at five for the Lions.
Pick Grade: B+