We are less than a week from the NFL Draft, also known as the most important day of the year for your Cleveland Browns. With (another) new regime taking over the reigns and new schemes in place on both sides of the ball, it is crucial that Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi, Ray Farmer, Rob Chudzinski and the crew nail these three days. It all starts Thursday night with the primetime First Round.
The Browns currently hold the sixth pick. Will they go with a defensive back? Could they turn to a pass rusher? Would they possible fortify the offensive line? Could they shock everyone and take an additional offensive weapon? Or maybe, just maybe, would they trade the pick to a team that wants to move up and snag one of those top offensive tackles?
From now until Thursday’s first round, a different member of the WFNY staff will take their look at one player in particular and tell you why the Browns, should they choose to, would go in this direction.
Name: Ezekiel (Ziggy) Ansah
Position: Defensive End
School: Brigham Young
40-yard dash: 4.63
Whom he would replace:
Why he makes the most sense for the Browns:
A freak athlete with limited football experience, Ezekiel Ansah has been advertised as possibly having the most potential of the elite DE/OLB prospects in this draft. For a player of his height and arm length (35″), his speed and athleticism (4.26 20-yd shuttle) is scintillating for NFL scouts. Along with free agent acquisitions Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant, he could be the final piece of an elite pass rushing attack.
What the experts say about him:
“You’re betting on his ceiling. Ansah is a track star in a 271-pound frame, a guy who blazed the 40 and shows solid punch at the point of attack. However, a lot of value is in that burst, the ability to jolt a defender with that initial blow, because his hand use, pass-rushing moves and leverage all need work. The question is whether he can add a repertoire.” — Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.com
“Highly disruptive pass rusher and he’s just scratching the surface. Displays a quick first step. Explosive upper body power. Has made huge strides transferring speed to power as a rusher. During second half of 2012, he’s consistently standing linemen up, locating ball, shedding block and pursuing QB with reckless abandon and exceptional closing burst for his size. Has enough speed and natural torso flexibility to threaten with speed-to-power moves off the edge but more consistently productive rushing the passer from inside (5-technique). Still can become more efficient with hands and do a better job of setting up blockers.” — Scouts Inc.
“Having only played football for three years — and starting just one season — the native of Ghana is as raw as prospects come. 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 that he’s committed to the game.” — Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com/CBS Sports
“Combination of size, length, and foot speed is nearly unparalleled. Delivers solid first contact that jolts opponent back. Continues to press and locate ball carriers in the backfield. Consistently sheds at the line of scrimmage, envelopes his target with a strong grasp and outstanding closing burst. Flashes the complete package, specifically when rushing from the edge on passing downs. When lining up inside a natural anchor shows up, helped by low pad level off the snap. Burst off of extension is counter move, gains significant ground on target. Obvious coaching on technique is absorbed and implemented.” — NFL.com
“Ansah is this year’s version of Chandler Jones or Jason Pierre-Paul; players with little college production who are great athletes and go in the first round of the draft. Like those two edge-rushers, Ansah is a tremendous athlete with a rare combination of size, speed and power. He excelled at the Combine and showed off his freakish skill set. The Senior Bowl week could be indicative of how Ansah’s career will trend in the NFL. He was quiet early in the week while getting his bearings against the higher level of competition. Ansah steadily improved to flash his superb athletic skill with the size, power and speed to be a force. By game time, he was dominant.” — Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com
Chances the Browns will take Ezekiel Ansah:
At No. 6, I’d mark it as only 5 percent. It would seem to be a reach at that spot, assuming that the Browns are leaning toward preferring Dion Jordan or Dee Milliner overall. But, in the potential situation where the Browns trade down to later in the first round, Ansah could be a likely target. For now, several mock drafts have him landing at No. 10 at Tennessee. So overall, I’d mark it at 15 percent overall that Ansah is the target. There just are too many other options for me to wage too heavily on him ending up in Cleveland.
Photo: AP Photo/Dave Martin