With the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions selected BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah. It was a highly questionable pick. Ansah has a big up side but the Lions need guys who can come in and produce right now. They did not need another project and never mind their poor track record when drafting projects. The down side here, is three years ago Ansah had never seen, much less played, American football. He has only started nine games in college and the Lions will need him to line up at one of their two DE spots from the first snap of the upcoming OTA’s.
There is no way to predict what the outcome of this is going to be and Lions fans have to hope that what this front office and coaching staff saw in Ansah during their week at the Senior Bowl will overcome all the things that usually spoil Lions’ fist round draft picks. For a team, and really for a couple of guys like Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz who might be managing and coaching for their job,s this was an awfully risky first round pick. It seemed the draft was falling in, a perfect way, for the Lions to take CB Dee Milliner and if he had flamed out early, the fan base may have cut Mayhew a lot more slack. If Ansah flames out, Mayhew will have to be fired along with Schwartz. The Ford family will not be able to allow GM and coaching staff to return their team back to the despair of a 0-16 season.
There is a lot to like about Ansah. He is a positive guy; by all accounts a good and humble kid and this locker room could use some of that. Ndamukong Suh, much like Barry Sanders before him, may be a great player but doesn’t have the right temperament to be the off-the-field leader. The hope here is Ansah with his positivity can one day develop into that role. This locker room lost a lot of veteran leadership this off season and one of these players is gonna have to step into the role of D-line leader that was held down by Kyle Vanden Bosch the last few years.
The good things about this draft include: one, the Lions did not raft a wide out in the first round; two, they did not go best player available; three, they drafted a guy at a position of need. Time will tell if they made the right choice or not.