On Thursday, Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro became the first 2013 first-round pick to sign a contract. A day later, the highest drafted player has signed his deal: The No. 5 selection, Ziggy Ansah out of BYU, is now officially a member of the Lions, the team announced on its website.
Ansah signed a five-year deal, though financial details weren't disclosed.
The Lions become the first team to sign all its 2013 draft picks. The last time the team had its first-rounder under contract so early in the offseason was when quarterback Matthew Stafford signed before he was selected first overall in 2009.
Now Ansah, cornerback Darius Slay, guard Larry Warford, defensive end Devin Taylor, punter Sam Martin, receiver Corey Fuller, running back Theo Riddick, tight end Michael Williams and linebacker Brandon Hepburn all under contract before the Lions' rookie minicamp kicks off Friday.
Ansah was considered one of the best athletes in the draft but he's also raw. He begun his football career in 2010. Still, the upside was too great for the Lions to pass up.
"This is an amazing story," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said shortly after the team drafted Ansah on April 25. "His background … just coming over from Ghana on an academic scholarship at BYU, running track, playing basketball, going out for football and earning his way on the field.
"I talked to his former head coach. Bronco Mendenhall spoke very highly of him, but talked about him when he came in not even knowing how to put his equipment on and how far he's come. And the one thing he talked about with Ziggy is how much he loves the game, how much he loves to learn about the game, how much passion he has to learn about it. We've got the right coaches here to teach him about it."
Ansah is currently penciled in as the starter at right defensive end. Ultimately, his place on the depth chart will be determined by how fast he assimilates to the NFL game.