Defensive line coach Jim Washburn won the Detroit Lions' war room debate. Although the offensive coaching staff "loves" North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, Washburn won out when the team selected BYU defensive end Ezekial "Ziggy" Ansah with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
NFL '13 DRAFT XTRA
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A native of Ghana, Ansah didn't begin playing football until 2010 after trying his hand at basketball and track and field with the Cougars. After sitting on the bench for two years, he recorded 62 tackles and 4.5 sacks once an injury forced him into the starting lineup last season.
Ansah has faced questions about his instincts and relative lack of college production, but his stock went through the roof after dominating at the Senior Bowl with 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. After a blazing 4.63 40-yard dash and a 1.56 10-yard split at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ansah was assured of going off the board in the first half-dozen picks.
Now that Cliff Avril is with the Seattle Seahawks, Ansah should step right into the starting lineup next to Nndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on a talented defensive line.
Asked about playing next to Suh, Ansah told the Detroit Free Press, "It's going to mean a lot. I know how dominant he is, I know how the coaches raved about him." Those coaches might soon be singing Ansah's praises as well.