The Lions took Ansah with the No. 5 overall draft pick Thursday night, and there's no question about the former BYU defensive end's raw physical skills. Ansah is a long, 6-foot-5, 271-pounder with speed, and he doesn't get pushed around. The concern is he only has played football since 2010 and had 4.5 sacks last year.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said in three years, Ansah either will be an All-Pro or out of the league.
"I will probably start on their defensive line, you know, put me out there on the (Wide-9). I'm not going to make any promises. All I have to do is work hard and see what happens."
Ansah needs to produce now. The Lions said goodbye to a combined 13 sacks from Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch in 2012. The general manager-coach combo of Mayhew and Schwartz have gone 22-42 in four years. A 10-6 record in 2011 was the lone winning season and lone playoff berth. They've built the program to what it is, and the emphasis is on the present, not the future. They've had four top-13 picks, including a No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5. The Ford family is known to be amazingly patient. But four years and several high draft picks, including having a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford and the league's top receiver in Calvin Johnson, should be enough to crank out winning seasons.
Mayhew said he expects Ansah to be an "impactful player" immediately. Ansah needs to be because time might be running out for the current Lions regime.