2018 NFL Draft

Ezekiel Ansah, DE

School: Brigham Young  |  Conference: FBS Independents
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Height/Weight: 6-5 / 271 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
04/25/2013 - DANE BRUGLER'S FINAL 2013 DRAFT BOARD: 14. DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU (6-5, 271, 4SR)...A physical marvel, Ansah has only one year of starting experience, didn't step onto the football field until 2010 but should only develop with more experience. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

04/25/2013 - ROB RANG'S FINAL 2013 NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD: 6. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU: Having played football for only three years -- and starting only one season -- the native of Ghana is as raw as it gets. Ansah is also as physically blessed as any prospect in the 2013 draft, demonstrating remarkable straight-line speed (4.63 in the 40-yard dash) and fluidity (4.26 seconds in the short shuttle), considering his 6-5, 271-pound frame. Proving athletic enough to handle converting to outside linebacker or staying at defensive end, Ansah could earn top five consideration if teams are convinced he's committed to the game. Some questioned his age until they were provided with his passport revealing that he is 23 years old. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

03/29/2013 - 2013 BYU Pro Day: Ziggy Ansah highlights BYU's pro day workouts...Eleven players worked out indoors on FieldTurf at BYU's pro day on March 28. Scouts and personnel from 18 NFL teams were present, including the offensive coordinators from Oakland and Philadelphia. Ziggy Ansah, DE (6-5 7/8, 272) - He did position drills and he looked very good. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com

03/04/2013 - While this speaks to Ansah's unbelievable athleticism, it also raises an important question. If Ansah isn't willing to dedicate himself fully to the biggest test of his life, how important is football to him? Ansah has only played the game for three years and has just one season under his belt as a starter. While he played with tremendous effort his breakout 2012 campaign, some scouts question if he will play with the same intensity once he signs his contract. Considering his upside and versatility, it might take a team inside the top 10 to find out. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

03/04/2013 - Clocking in at 4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash last week at the NFL 2013 Combine at 6-foot-5, 271 pounds, BYU's Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah continued the positive momentum he'd made with a dominating performance at the Senior Bowl. Ansah's performance was the more impressive considering that he had never run the 40-yard dash before.

Citing Ansah's agent, Frank Bauer of Sun West Sports, Dan Pompei of the National Football Post writes that rather than prepare for the most famous athletic drill measured by scouts, the Ghana-native continued to focus on his classes at BYU, meaning that the extraordinary athleticism Ansah demonstrated is 100 percent natural and not of the manufactured variety that sometimes is the result of athletes prepping for a month or more for these specific events.

This wasn't the first time Ansah had a timed race. He made the BYU track team as a walk-on, recording times of 10.91 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 21.89 seconds in the 200. Just because one has experience running track doesn't necessarily make him effective in the 40-yard dash, however. The 40-yard dash doesn't just measure long-distance speed. The technique and explosiveness necessary to record a fast time is something that can take weeks to develop, which makes Ansah's 1.56 second 10-yard split all the more impressive. To put that into perspective, consider that TCU wide receiver Josh Boyce was unofficially credited with a 1.56 second 10-yard split himself and NFL.com credited him with a blistering 4.38-second 40-yard dash. Ansah, in fact, timed faster than 17 wide receivers in the 10-yard split. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

02/25/2013 - BYU pass rusher Ziggy Ansah showed little reaction when he saw his 4.62 unofficial 40-time posted at Lucas Oil Stadium Monday. In part, because the 6-5, 274-pound football neophyte is more accustomed to running sprints -- track and his Mormon beliefs are the reasons he came to Provo. He also has a quiet confidence about him, and the even-keeled rising draft star isn't the celebrating type. "I know people tell me, ???Z is calm. Z is calm.' This is who I am. I am not going to be out there going crazy. This is me," he said when he met with the media last week.

Ansah played outside linebacker and defensive end at BYU, but has only two seasons of football experience on any level. He wowed at the Senior Bowl -- Lions coach Jim Schwartz said he's nowhere near as raw as most suggest -- and was scheduled to work out as an outside linebacker and defensive end in position drills Monday. His 10-yard split of 1.56 show Ansah's off-the-ball explosiveness. Teams considering Ansah are also interested in Oregon DE/OLB Dion Jordan. At 6-6, Jordan flew to an unofficial 4.53 40 time. - Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange

02/23/2013 - BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah passes the eye test at 6-feet-5, 274 pounds. Looks count for a lot at the Scouting Combine, but Ansah isn't afraid to say he's a virtual neophyte embracing a relatively fresh wave of buzz that he could be a first-round draft pick. He never watched football or played the game until he arrived in Provo, Utah, where he said the differences from his native Africa are too many to name and the sports of preference were soccer and basketball. Ansah played both games since he was three years old. Football was a bit of a foreign concept until just four years ago. "Before getting to BYU?" Ansah asked about his exposure to the American game. "Zero."

A Mormon whose father is a retired salesman for Shell petroleum and whose mother is a nurse, he came to BYU hoping to run track. When the coach that led him to BYU left to Southern Methodist, Ansah decided to give basketball a try but after two years, gave up on that goal. "I was really athletic and didn't just want to sit around and go to school," Ansah said. "I never thought of playing football because I didn't play the game. I tried basketball for two years and it didn't work out." He said if he would have made the basketball team he would have never picked up football. "I don't know why I didn't make it," he said. - Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange

02/23/2013 - Ansah attended Cougars home football games when he got to campus. He said he immediately fell in love with the game. Grasping the concepts and technique to excel at the NFL level is a continuous work in progress. Ansah played two years at outside linebacker and moved to defensive end last season. Because of his raw athleticism, Ansah is compared to Giants 2011 first-round pick Jason Pierre-Paul. Ansah takes that comparison as a serious compliment. "I put in the time to watch him, study his style of play," Ansah said.

His initial preference was to play tight end because of his size and fundamentals - how to take on a running back's chip block and tackling in the open field - but coaches liked his skill set on defense. At the Senior Bowl, he showed scouts the ability to play defensive end and outside linebacker.

"To see him go in and improve every day in practice, have the game he had -- a very productive game -- he's obviously a guy that is talented physically," said Detroit Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz, whose staff coached Ansah's team at the Senior Bowl. "I think he went a long way to answering questions about his background and his aptitude in a setting like the Senior Bowl." - Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange

02/20/2013 - 2013 NFL Combine, Next question: Just like any interview that you might have gone through, the players invited to the Combine are there to try to get a job. They have to impress their potential employers with intelligence and dedication. Each NFL team is allowed 60 formal player interviews. Each interview can last up to 15 minutes. The topics of conversation can fluctuate wildly from team to team and from player to player.

A wild card in the first round, BYU's Ezekiel Ansah doesn't have off-field issues or character concerns, but scouts will be sure to grill him on his love and knowledge of the game. After participating in soccer, basketball and track throughout his life, the African native tried football in 2010, flashing natural athleticism and obvious potential. But it's his development above the shoulders that might determine his draft stock. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

02/20/2013 - 2013 NFL Combine, 10 players to watch: 8. DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU...Although he didn't start playing football until 2010 and wasn't named a starter until this past season, Ansah is a talent who will create a lot of discussion in war rooms across the league. The Africa-native is still very inexperienced, and his role at the next level is undefined, but he should test well athletically in drills. During interviews, scouts will also be curious to determine Ansah's love for football. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

01/24/2013 - BYU's Ezekiel Ansah drawing comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul...In 2010, Ansah walked on to the BYU track team and ran a personal-best of 21.9 seconds in the 200 meters. Upon the urgings of a Cougars' assistant track coach, Ansah took up football. "It was hard but my teammates and coaches helped me through it," Ansah said.

Ansah models his game after Pierre-Paul, the Giants defensive end, who also entered the league with little seasoning. As a zone blitzer, Ansah compares himself favorably with Clay Matthews. Lions coach Jim Schwartz, the South coach at the Senior Bowl, says Ansah isn't as raw as people think. "Everybody keeps saying that he's raw but I keep seeing things like instincts and knocking down passes that doesn't look raw to me," Schwartz said. "It looks like he has a really good feel for the game." - Matt Rybaltowski, CBSSports.com

01/24/2013 - BYU's Ezekiel Ansah drawing comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul...Arguably the top pass rusher at this week's Senior Bowl has only spent a few years in the United States and didn't even play competitive football before 2010. But at 6-6, 270 pounds, former BYU linebacker Ezekiel Ansah possesses the explosiveness and closing speed that can't be coached. Inevitably, the comparisons between Ansah and Jason Pierre-Paul are going to swell over the next few months.

Ansah, a native of Accra, Ghana, described his nation's 2-1 Round-of-16 win over the United States in the 2010 FIFA World Cup as "the best moment of his life." Shortly after arriving in Provo, Ansah watched the victory with a large contingent of Ghanaian students in Utah. Ansah excelled on the pitch in his homeland and credits soccer for helping him with the footwork needed to rush at a stand-up position as a 3-4 outside linebacker. - Matt Rybaltowski, CBSSports.com

12/16/2012 - 2012 FBS ALL-INDEPENDENT FIRST TEAM: DL Ezekiel Ansah (Sr.), BYU, has been selected First Team All-Independent for the 2012 college football season by members of a nationwide media panel, which includes equal representation from each of the independent institutions' coverage markets. The senior from Ghana has emerged as a top defender on BYU's third-ranked defense, allowing 266.3 yards per game. Ansah has 57 tackles and is second on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss. He adds 4.5 sacks, eight pass breakups and six quarterback hurries. - BYU football

11/21/2012 - 2012 BURLSWORTH TROPHY SEMIFINALIST (TOP COLLEGE FOOTBALL WALK-ON): Ezekial Ansah, Sr., DL, BYU...BYU defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah has been named a semifinalist for the 2012 Burlsworth Trophy, honoring the nation's top player who began his career as a walk-on. A walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with a Division-I (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university's athletic department. Ansah, a senior, began his career in football three years ago, having never played the game in his life growing up in Accra, Ghana.

Originally a track athlete with incredible size and speed, Ansah was introduced to football and has quickly picked up the game. From learning how to put his football pads on three years ago to now a starter at defensive end on the No. 3 defense in the nation, Ansah's road from walk-on to starter is truly unique. The 6-foot-6, 270 pounder is currently fourth on the team in tackles with 53 and has 12.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks, both good for second-best on the team. His 12.0 tackles for loss are tied for 44th nationally. - BYU football

11/13/2012 - Week 11 Rewind: BYU, Utah Pass-rushers Give Beehive State Its Sting...Ansah is quick off the snap and has long strides that gobble up territory on his way to the quarterback. He's also very long and aware in the passing game, knocking down two passes in the first half before the game got out of hand. Perhaps most exciting -- considering his relative lack of time in the game -- is that Ansah has naturally heavy hands. He broke away easily from Idaho offensive linemen's attempts to control him. Ansah has improved throughout the season, enjoying the most dramatic breakout performance this year of any senior prospect. Ansah entered the season barely on the blip of scouts' radar but he's pushing for a spot in NFLDraftScout.com's top 50 currently and could very well emerge as a legitmate first round with a solid week in Mobile. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

11/13/2012 - Week 11 Rewind: BYU, Utah Pass-rushers Give Beehive State Its Sting...It is precisely this position and scheme versatility that has made BYU's Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah the hottest senior prospect in the country. The 6-6, 270 pound native of Ghana originally came to BYU on a track scholarship and only began playing in football in 2010. Having been shuffled between defensive end and linebacker the past two years, Ansah entered his senior season with just 10 combined tackles. Demonstrating much greater awareness and strength this season, however, Ansah has been terrific, standing out in high profile games against Boise State, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech in recent weeks and reportedly earning an invitation to the Senior Bowl. It was easy to see what Phil Savage and the Senior Bowl scouts saw in Ansah, who dominated Idaho Saturday night, playing both with his hand in the ground as a defensive end and as a stand-up rusher. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

10/10/2012 - 10/10/12 NFL DRAFT SCOUT RISER: 5. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young: Every year there are a few players that are totally off the map who are able to find playing time as seniors and grab the attention of NFL scouts. BYU hybrid linebacker Ezekiel Ansah fits that description as a virtual unknown a few months ago, but is now shooting up draft boards as we find out more about the disruptive defender. Originally a track athlete at BYU, he decided to try football so he went to the Cougars' coaching staff in 2010 and worked his way onto the team. Ansah, who was born and raised in Ghana, entered the 2012 season with just 10 career tackles on his resume, but earned a starting job as a senior and hasn't disappointed. Against Utah State last Friday, he set career-bests with 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks, pushing his season totals to 27 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and three pass break-ups. Listed at 6-6 and 270 pounds, Ansah is a freakish athlete with an outstanding blend of length, speed and natural power. He plays all over the front-seven for BYU, lining up with his hand in the dirt at defensive end or standing up at linebacker and dropping into coverage. Ansah has a flexible, fluid body type and is an effortless mover, exploding in any direction and chasing down the ballcarrier. He is obviously very raw having so little experience playing the sport, but already he has showed improved recognition skills and hand use. Ansah is just scratching the surface on what he can do and, like Jason Pierre Paul a few years back, NFL scouts are wondering just how high his ceiling can be. Don't be surprised if Ansah continues to produce, tests off the charts in pre-draft work outs and ends up as a top-50 draft pick. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com