Is Ziggy the Ansah?

Posted: April 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 130 Comments »

Over the weekend, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com said on Twitter that he didn’t think the Eagles would have interest in Ziggy Ansah. The specific question was in regard to the #4 pick so maybe he just meant at that spot. Or, maybe he meant at all.  I would be very disappointed if the Eagles didn’t think long and hard about taking Ansah.

Ziggy Ansah is one of the most interesting draft prospects I’ve ever seen. I remember watching Brian Urlacher at New Mexico. He was a S/LB hybrid, even at 240 pounds. He lined up 15 yards back and then exploded downhill on run plays. Sure enough, he was so fast that he got to the ball before anyone else and he blew the play up.  Urlacher was big, fast, athletic, and highly unusual. Urlacher was a Top 10 pick and has had a stellar career.  Ansah is similar in that when you watch most BYU games, he is the most athletic player on the field and he just jumps out at you. You’re seeing something unconventional, but incredibly impressive.

To many people the biggest problem with Ansah is that he’s raw. Ansah has only been playing football for a couple of years and only was a starter in 2012.  According to Phil Steele’s College Preview magazine, Ansah was the third string SAM LB. By late August, Ansah had moved to backup DE, but even that was helped by Ian Dulan having back problems. Once the season got going and Ansah got on the field, things changed for good. He was a special talent. What he lacked in polished skills, he made up for in size/speed/power. There is no question that Ansah needs coaching. I think a key point to remember is that it isn’t as if he hasn’t learned. Ziggy is just new to the game. Some guys have played football for a decade and they’re raw because they rely on athleticism and don’t listen to coaches. Ansah needs time.

Scouts have talked at great length with the BYU coaching staff.  Scouts played close attention in Mobile at the Senior Bowl.  They will write up detailed reports for the Eagles on Ansah’s work habits and coachability. Does he want to learn? Does he listen well? Does he have good practice habits?  If Ansah is weak in any of those areas, you pass on him. When a player is raw, you need to feel that there is a likelihood that he’ll work hard to get better and learn the little things.

My biggest concern for Ansah is where to play him. Is he a SAM LB or DE? 4-3 teams will put him at DE and that’s perfect.  In the 3-4, things are more complicated.  Let’s look at his size:

6-5, 271 … with 35 1/8 arms and 10 1/4 hands

3-4 LB Willie McGinest – 6-5, 270

3-4 DE JJ Watt – 6-5, 290

3-4 LB Calvin Pace – 6-4, 265

3-4 DE Justin Smith 6-4, 285

3-4 DE Quinton Coples 6-6, 285

4-3 DE Chandler Jones – 6-5, 266

3-4 LB Ryan Kerrigan – 6-4, 267

Studying the 2012 game tape doesn’t provide great answers on how to use Ansah. BYU moved him all over the place. He was a 3-4 DE, 4-3 DE, DT, NT, and he stood up on some plays. He played 7-tech, 5-tech, 3-tech, 1-tech, and 0-tech. And he didn’t do this over the course of a season. He did all of this in a game… almost every game. That’s why I say he’s one of the most interesting guys I’ve ever seen.

In the Dime defense, Ziggy was the NT. He would try to push the pocket. If he got blocked, he would stop and mirror the QB. If the guy ran, Ziggy would chase him down. If he threw, Ziggy would jump. He finished the season with 9 deflected passes. That wasn’t luck,. That was by design.

No matter what you do with Ziggy, you’re projecting. We’ve seen him play the various positions, but not so much that you can feel definitively about him there. You know the old saying…jack of all trades, master of none. That’s Ziggy.  The Eagles could look at him as a LB. They could look at him as a DE. To play DE, he’d need to gain 10 pounds, but I don’t see that as a big deal. He carries 270 pounds very naturally. This isn’t a guy who has had to bulk up for football.

Watch him play against Ga Tech and see what you think. This actually was a game where he didn’t move around much. GT runs the triple option so teams play the same base look against them a lot.  I do think Ansah showed really good ability in this game.

As I watched that, he really looked like a LB to me. Ziggy is so good when he’s on his feet and chasing the ball. He has excellent speed for a guy his size. Dion Jordan ran 4.60 at the Combine at 248 pounds. Ziggy ran 4.63 at 271 pounds. He can really cover some ground. I  think one of his best attributes is closing speed. When Ziggy sees the RB or QB near him, he closes to the ball better than anyone else in the draft.

Although Ansah has a limited football background, he is a naturally physical player. He likes contact. Some guys that are new to the game struggle with that side of things. They want to run around blocks. Ziggy will run into blockers and fight them with his hands. He is athletic enough to play in space, but is comfortable playing in traffic. NFL football is as physical as it gets (aside from mud wrestling with Dewey Oxberger), but I don’t think that will be a problem for Ansah.

Chip says he likes big guys because they can beat up on little guys. Putting a 270-pound guy at LB would seem to make a lot of sense, then. He can hold the point of attack on run plays. He’s plenty big and strong for battling OTs. In Nickel and Dime packages, Ziggy could play DE or DT. The thought of him and Fletcher Cox rushing up the middle is actually pretty intriguing.

With all this talk of the Eagles wanting to run a hybrid defense, don’t you need some hybrid players? That’s Ansah. You could use him at 3-4 DE in some looks. He can play in the 4-3. He can basically do it all. The other benefit with him is that he gives you some flexibility with the current set of LBs. If Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin blow us away, then you can shift Ziggy to DE. If they struggle, you’ve got Ziggy as a LB.

I don’t know if the Eagles have any interest in Ansah. If they do, I don’t know for a fact whether it would be at DE or LB. DL coach Jerry Azzinaro went to BYU to work Ansah out.  That would lead me to think the Eagles see him as a DE, but that isn’t 100 percent fact. Maybe the Eagles already like Ansah at LB and wanted Coach Azz to see what he thought of him as a DE. There are other reasons to do that, but we’re just playing the guessing game so trying to figure out what/why isn’t a good use of time.

There is some question as to how much of a project Ansah is. People look back to Danny Watkins and get scared to death. Huge, huge difference. Players on offense are part of a group that must work in sync and execute precisely. Defense is more about the individual. You have your gap or gaps to cover. That lasts for a second or two and then you chase the ball. Offense is about precision and honed football skills. Defense is about athleticism and effort. Ansah is athletic and he plays hard. He would have a lot of learning to do, but I think his natural ability would get him on the field right away. You can’t coach size/speed. That doesn’t mean he would start right away, but he would play in some packages or as a backup. And he could play on STs as well.

Here is a great piece from ESPN on Ansah and the impressions he made on people. Funny, entertaining stories.

I do think Ansah has big time potential. Some people bring up JPP, but they were used so differently that it is hard to compare them. I would say that Ansah isn’t going to be as good of a pass rusher, but is more versatile and could impact the game in different ways. I think McGinest and Kerrigan might be better comparisons for Ansah. If he goes to DL, the guy you would want him to become is Justin Smith. Ansah doesn’t have the dynamic athleticism to be JJ Watt, but he could develop along the lines of someone like Smith that is more a mixture of talent and effort. Watt is just a freak.

Ansah is far from a sure thing, but as we see all the time…there are no sure things. Aaron Curry was an incredibly safe pick that busted. There have been some questions about his age, but so far as we can tell Ansah will turn 24 next month. He would be entering his 7th NFL season when he turned 30 so that’s not a big deal. Younger is better, but 24 is fine.

I know plenty of you hate the idea of Ansah. Les Bowen thinks it is a reach. Go back and read my own words from a few months ago and I said that Ansah wasn’t Top 10 material. The more I studied him and the more I studied this bizarre draft class, I changed my mind. We’ll find out soon enough if the Eagles have any interest or if Daniel Jeremiah is right and they’re looking elsewhere.

Personally, I think we have to draft Ansah as a LB. Then we’d have the story line that once finally rid of Andy Reid, the Eagles spent a 1st round pick on a LB…and a BYU LB at that.

* * * * *

Jimmy Beast has a few good things of note up in today’s post.

* * * * *

The closer we get to the draft, the less we can believe about what we hear. Daniel Jeremiah heard we were going for Geno Smith just 10 days ago. Now he’s got us with different players. He said on Twitter the other day that he’s had Dion Jordan going to the Jags, but the talk out there now is JAX going for an OT.

What gives?

Teams are spreading rumors. There is a mixture of truth and lies. If you only lie, no one will believe you so you need to mix in some true stuff. The Jags have leaked that they’re deciding between Jordan and an OT. The Jordan part has got to be true. The OT part…that’s a question. We don’t know. Good work by them.

The Eagles have spread so many rumors that we’ve been associated with any number of guys.

You must listen to everything out there, but knowing what to believe…impossible. And probably 85 percent of what you hear is hooey. Finding the 15 percent to believe is oh so hard, but oh so fun.

_


  • Baloophi

    $$$ ANNUAL IGGLES BLITZ CHALLENGE $$$
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    ***********

    Friends,
    With the NFL draft right around the corner it’s time to remind everyone of all the hard work Tommy and Sam do to bring us this special space. It takes a lot of time and effort to continually create new content, maintain the website, and respond to questions / comments / death threats after a mock draft. With that in mind, I’d like to ask everyone here to take a minute of your own time and consider making a donation in any amount to Iggles Blitz.

    Since one of the most enjoyable parts of my Iggles Blitz experience is engaging in discussions with all of you, I’d like to issue everyone here a challenge: If we can get 25 donations in any amount before the start of the draft, I will happily give $10 per donation to Iggles Blitz. Your contributions go a long way toward acquiring and maintaining a tape library, licensing and legal fees, and of course, making PBR-flavored smoothies.

    On the right hand side of the page is a “DONATE” button. Please
    consider giving any amount you feel comfortable with to a resource I know you all enjoy as much as I do. No need to post how much you have given, and if you not able to at this time, please consider “voting up” this post so it’s front and center for others.

    I know many of you graciously helped Tommy get to the Senior Bowl a couple months ago and that he was enormously grateful. Now let’s help keep the site going for the 2013 season! Remember, without Tommy, we’d be stuck getting Eagles information from Dave “Company Line” Spadaro, Les “Photo Bomb” Bowen, and Jeff “Who would YOU take?” McLane.

    NOTE: Tommy and Sam have not solicited this challenge in any way, shape or form and will undoubtedly shy away from it. Besides, they should be busy preparing for the inevitable fallout when the Eagles use their first three picks on quarterbacks.

    • goeagles55

      I donated a small amount.

      Where do we send complaints about our unfulfilled sunglasses orders?

      • Baloophi

        Thanks! And I believe the BBB is already well-aware of the sunglasses and in-home Lasik scam that’s going on here…

    • GvilleEagleFan

      As a student on financial aid, I don’t have a lot to give but I threw a 10-spot your way Tommy. Have a case of PBR on me during the draft. Love your work, keep it up!

      • Baloophi

        Many many thanks, Gville!

    • Steag209

      I donated about a week ago, if that counts

      • Baloophi

        I’m gonna say, “yes… it counts!”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1514128048 Kristopher Cebula

      done

      • Baloophi

        I think you mean, WELL done.

        Nice work!

    • brza

      I’m on here multiple times a day everyday so I guess its time I donated too.
      Done.

      • Baloophi

        Thank you!

        • Geagle

          you will have my contribution on friday

    • Midnight_Greenville

      I’m in. Thanks for doing this.

      • Baloophi

        Thank YOU!

    • bubqr

      I’m in, had not donated anything this year. Thanks for doing that Baloophi!

      • Baloophi

        Thanks, bub!

    • MichaelFloyd84

      Count me in. Only 2 to go. Didn’t give a ton (just bought an engagement ring) but wanted to give something. Tommy and Baloophi, thanks.

      • Baloophi

        Congrats!!!

        • MichaelFloyd84

          Thanks. She had made damn sure i knew what she wanted, but she said yes and loved it.

          • Baloophi

            Fantastic! Now just make sure you set a date that doesn’t conflict with a game, free agency kickoff, the draft, first day of training camp, or a potential playoff game and you’re all set!

  • GvilleEagleFan

    I finally feel comfortable with the #4 pick. At this point I’d be happy with Jordan, Fisher, Joeckel, and Ansah in that order. Bring on the draft!

    • brza

      Me too. I actually think we could move down a few spots and still end up with a top-tier player instead of settling. I’d set my board in this order:
      Ansah, Jordan, Joeckel, Johnson, Austin, Fisher, Star then comes the dropoff.

      Considering that Floyd, Richardson, Milliner, Mingo, Cooper and possibly a QB could be picked before my top 7 are gone based on other teams’ needs it is realistic to drop all the way to 12 and still have a very good chance at landing a cornerstone player that is also a system fit.
      Although, I think Ansah and Jordan are a cut above the rest and more of an impact than an OT. If either of them are still available at 4 then I wouldn’t trade back unless it was just one spot with the Lions. If Ansah and Jordan are gone I’d trade back to the best deal within the top 13.

  • ICDogg

    yeah, I think he is a linebacker in the base defense.

  • http://twitter.com/Gator_Hokie Bob Brewer

    What a great headline.

  • Steven Dileo

    Awesome title. I bet you wrote that story just to use that title. :)

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m embarrassed to say that was title #2.

      Initially I had “To Zig, Or Not To Zig”. I have no idea what made me think of that, but it was in my head. Then the infinitely better pun came to me and I made the change.

      • Baloophi

        The best part about this pun is that “Ansah” is how Chip Kelly and Jerry Azzinaro pronounce “Answer.”

  • Steven Dileo

    Would you be upset if the Eagles used a 3rd or 4th round pick to move up and draft Jordan?

    • TommyLawlor

      Upset? No. If they value him that much, do it. As we learned from the CLE/ATL deal…if you see a player that you truly believe can be a difference maker, go get him.

  • Baloophi

    Time for the annual “Ten Foot Pole” list!

    Here are my “do not touch” guys in no particular order and – as usual – with no particular reason.

    STAR LOTULELEI (DT – UTAH)
    Great production, but I question his heart.

    JARVIS JONES (LB – GEORGIA)
    Great production, but I question his backbone.

    ALEX OGLETREE (LB – GEORGIA)
    On the one hand, he might have been wisely wearing a helmet while driving drunk a week before the NFL Combine. On the other hand, it might have been the scooter helmet he stole from a classmate.

    KENNY VACCARO (S – TEXAS)
    Know what “cowboy” is in Spanish? “Vaquero.” Close enough for me!

    TYLER BRAY (QB – TENNESSEE)
    When you skip press conferences, publicly disagree with your coach, and throw beer bottles at cars, you don’t belong on the field at Lincoln Financial… you belong in the stands.

    JORDAN RODGERS (QB – VANDERBILT), JOE KRUGER (DE – UTAH)
    Just because your older brothers are NFL stars doesn’t mean you will be, too. Tell ‘em, Casey.

    DeANDRE HOPKINS (WR – CLEMSON) and MARK HARRISON (WR – RUTGERS)
    I don’t know who made lemonade and who made fudge, but I don’t want either of these guys anywhere near the sports science guy and his magic smoothie machine.

    TYRANN MATHIEU (CB – RIGHT STEP REHAB)
    Only did 4 reps on the bench press at the combine. If only you could take steroids through a bong…

    CORDARELLE PATTERSON (WR – TENNESSEE)
    He won’t guarantee you playoffs, but he will guarantee you plays off.

    DENARD ROBINSON (“WR” – MICHIGAN)
    I don’t care that he’s trying to transition from QB to WR. I don’t care that he never ties his shoes. I DO care that he has the same head to body ratio as a Wii character.

    MONTEE BALL (RB – WISCONSIN)
    I was saddened to learn that Montee Ball is no relation to Buddy Ball.

    KYLE JUSZCZYK (FB – HARVARD)
    I guess Harvard guys are so smart they’ve evolved to the point where they don’t need vowels?

    JEFF TUEL (QB – WASHINGTON STATE)
    Jeff Tuel?! That guy is such a wad!

    • TommyLawlor

      Great, as always.

      Steroids through a bong? I’m on the case.

      And you know there will one day be a player named Buddy Ball. We had better draft him in the 1st round.

      • Geagle

        I have a feeling that both Ogletree and the honeyBadger will become Rams, and Jeff Fisher will once again look Brilliant…

        They need Lb’s, and a Nickle corner like the Badger would really give them a nice young 3headed monster at corner….Still pissed we didnt take Janoris Jenkins last year…

        Speaking of a ten foot pole list, how the hel does Rolando McClain get arrested AGAIN, this soon after signing with the SB champs?

        As for Krugs and Jordan Rodgers…Depends where Krug goes. I dont like him as a 5th rounder, where alot of people think is where he gets drafted…but yesterday, I looked at WalterFootballs 7round Mock, and they had the Eagles taking him with our 1st 7th round pick, and I have to say If he is available in the 7th, I like him alot..in the 5th, not so much. I would love to see us cme away with two 5tecs like Kruger and Quinton Dials in rounds 6-7(we dont have any 6th round picks right now, but we will probably have 4 of them by the time Howie is done wheelin n Dealin)

        As for Jordan Rodgers, I dont have much faith in the kid…But he can probably be had between #220-#240…I would much much rather see them wait til the 7th and take a flier on a developmental QB, than waste a draft pick on any other QB in this class..I would be ok with Dysert and I guess Scott, but the problem is I think there will be alot of competition for those 2 QBs, and I dont like them enough to have to draft him earlier than he is worth, or to spend picks moving ahead of teams to go get him

    • D-von

      “I guess Harvard guys are so smart they’ve evolved to the point where they don’t need vowels?” LOLOLOL

    • A_T_G

      Just awesome.

    • laeagle

      “Why doesn’t your name have any vowels in it?”
      “JUSCZYK”
      (just cuz)

      • Baloophi

        Nice!

        Draft Day at Public House on Vermont?

        • laeagle

          Have to check with the wife. What time do things kick off on Thursday?

          • Baloophi

            I believe 5pm our time (as in, that’s when selections begin… I’m sure there will be nonsense before then…)

          • Fayetnam

            Can <21 attend? I live in nearby Pasadena

          • Baloophi

            I believe so. I just called and they gave a befuddled “as long as they’re eating” answer… which kind of doesn’t make sense.

          • laeagle

            So, 4:30 or so at the Public House, then?

    • Geagle

      Dont touch with a ten foot pole list:
      1) Dee Millner

      2)Dee Millner

      3) Dee Millner

      4)Geno Smith

      Any other player that we draft at #4, I will stand up and cheer

  • Anders

    Great work as always Tommy

    Are you going to do one on Tavon Austin?

    • TommyLawlor

      I thought I had already covered him, but will try to put something together.

      • Baloophi

        Oh, Tommy. NOBODY can cover Tavon Austin!

        • TommyLawlor

          You’re on a roll today. Did you stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night?

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

      In the one Podcast Tommy talked for about 140 minutes on Austin. (I really think they need to start doing 13 hour podcasts)

  • D-von

    Thats been my point for awhile. If the team is planning to run multiple front defense, why not get the player best suited for it.

  • Baloophi

    What position in the 3-4 would be the “key” against the read option? In other words, if the goal was to prevent RG3 from being RG3, where would you put Ziggy?

    • TommyLawlor

      Wow, that’s a great question. I’m thinking the OLB, but since I’m new to the 3-4 I need to look into that.

      • deg0ey

        You’re too busy on the draft for that now – I’ll crack out the all-22 and have a look this evening.

        • deg0ey

          Okay, so I’ve watched the first half of the Redskins game against the Cowboys and figured out the obvious point we all missed here. They’re running the option out of the spread formation; even when they’re playing 3-4 teams, they’re generally using it against a four man front.

          EDIT: So to answer Baloophi’s actual question, the key to stopping the option is to have someone that can play the run like a LB and cover like a S (aka Dion Jordan) the same as it is for a 4-3 team.

    • ACViking

      The Triple Option — which depended entirely on the QB making at least one and maybe two reads — died out because the U-Miami Hurricanes, under Jimmy Johnson, figured out how to stop it. SPEED.

      In a simple TO, the QB first reads the 3-tech DE to decide if the QB should let the FB get the ball. Simple dive play.

      If the DE is crashing down the line, then the QB keeps the ball and moves down the line to his next read, the OLB. If the OLB is about the kill the QB, then he’d pitch it to the trailing HB. (In the wishbone, the nearside HB would become the lead blocker on the pitch and take out the CB. Watch highlights of Greg Pruitt at Oklahoma in ’71 . . . and all you’d see are long, long runs.)

      When Jimmy Johnson was the HC at OK State, he took a beating at the hands of the triple option run by Nebraska (out of the I-formation) and Oklahoma (out of the wishbone).

      The lesson he learned was that you need speed to stop the triple option.

      So when he arrived at Miami, Johnson added speed at safety and LB. Lots of speed to take the corner away from HB on the pitch.

      At safety, there were guys like Bubba McDowell, Bennie Blades (6’0 220 lbs!), Darrell Fullington, Bobby Harden, and Daryl Williams.

      The LBs were thought to be undersized, but they were all fast. Winston Moss. Darrin Smith. Jesse Armstead. Michael Barrow.

      In the 1988 Orange Bowl, Miami played Oklahoma for the (mythical) National Championship. Miami completely shut-down the OU wishbown . . . and that, pretty much, was the end of that.
      __________________

      So — for Ziggy — stick him at OLB in a 3-4. His job on the read option will be to kill the QB, whether he has the ball or pitches it.

      Stopping long runs on the edge off the pitch will be the job of the safeties. Big, fast safties.

      At least, that’s how I understand things. I welcome corrections and critique.

      • deg0ey

        The difference between that and what the ‘skins are doing is that they’re mostly running the option out of three receiver sets. If you go to the nickel to cover the extra receiver you’re (usually) in a 2 or 4 man front, so you’ve lost the flexibility of whether to put Ansah at DE or OLB in that situation. Alternatively, you can stay in your base-D and try to cover the slot receiver with a linebacker or a safety.

        The only way I can see of stopping the option in this form is to have a safety that can come down and give you back your 7th man in the box when you’re in the nickel whilst also being able to get back into deep coverage if it turns out to be a pass/play action.

        That’s where I see the true value of Dion Jordan. In the nickel you could go with Cole and Graham as DEs, Kendricks and Ryans at LB and Phillips as a single-high safety. Jordan then lines up in the box whilst also having a responsibility in a (relatively) deep zone. If he reads the run he’ll be in position to make a tackle and if he doesn’t, he’s got the speed to get back and help out in coverage.

        • Ark87

          The Giants had a pretty neat (though I loathe to admit it) way of adding speed to the field without completely sacrificing the run-defense, they called it big nickle. Basically instead of subbing in a CB of a LB, they would sub in a safety. They aren’t the first to think of it or anything, but they were one of the few teams in the league that had the depth at safety to make it a potent formation (Hell in Philly I was trying to figure out ways to take safeties off the field: “they don’t tackle anyway, put in a CB with some ball skills at least, dammit!”)

          I think Sean McDermott may have envisioned Keenan Clayton as being almost a big safety that wanders in and out of the box for a similar “big nickle” concept.

      • Ark87

        Good stuff ACV, this may be the purpose of us going to a primarily 2-gap system. Theoretically speaking, when a 1 gap lineman is allowed to go unblocked, he takes the invitation every time (penetration is a 1-gap lineman’s MO), gets read by the QB, and left to either tackle someone without the ball, or stuck looking dumb trying to suddenly change direction in pursuit of whoever actually has the ball. Meanwhile the O-lineman who let him loose is up field clobbering linebackers and safeties.

        Perhaps we are switching to a 2-gap to keep the speed clean.

        • deg0ey

          Jordan at #4 and Hankins at #35 seems like it’d solve this. Seems like the biggest criticism of Jordan is that he doesn’t have the strength to attack on OT head on, so we can have Hankins push the guy over and then Jordan can just run around the edge. Job done.

      • holeplug

        Osborne was able to recover by finally adding speed too, although he waited far too long to adjust to what Johnson was doing imo. He changed his base defense from a 5-2 to a 4-3 since teams were starting to pass more in the early 90′s and made a change in recruiting by looking for speed at the offensive skill positions over size and strength like they did in the 70′s and 80′s.

        Kelly’s Oregon teams and those 90′s Nebraska teams did a lot of the same stuff on offense…

        http://smartfootball.com/uncategorized/combining-tom-osbornes-nebraska-offense-with-chip-kellys-oregon-offense-the-stuff-dreams-are-made-of

  • ACViking

    Re: Short Area Explosiveness

    T-Law:

    Seeing on paper Ansah’s Size-to-Speed ratio (plus his height), and your musing about Ziggy as a Rush LB/DE . . . I thought of Lawrence Taylor.

    __________________

    In Taylor first few seasons, he played at about 6’3 240 lbs. (Looking at old tapes makes you think he added about 15 pounds, at least, over the next few years.)

    Some of the OLTs he faced early on were:

    Eagles – Stan Walters, 6’6″ 275 lbs.
    Cowboys – Pat Donovan, 6’5″ 250 lbs.
    Cardinals – Geo Collins, 6’2″ 250 lbs
    Saints – JT Taylor, 6’4″ 265 lbs
    Packers – Mark Koncar, 6’5″ 271 lbs
    Jets – Chris Ward, 6’3″ 267 lbs
    Seahawks – Ron Essink, 6’6″ 260 lbs
    Rams – Irv Pankey, 6’7″ 275

    The biggest OLT whom Taylor faced early on — and in the NFL — was the Redskins’ free agent OLT Joe Jacoby at 6’7″ 305 lbs. (In Joe Gibbs’ first season as Washington’s HC, he introduced the “Hogs” to the NFL . . . who, with the exception of long-time veteran ORT George Starke, were generally 20-30 lbs bigger than their counterparts on other teams. And the very big Hogs blocked for the best *very big* RB in the NFL, John Riggins. After pounding the defense, Gibbs would bring in Joe Washington at HB, who weighed about 50 lbs less than Riggo and had exactly the opposite running style. Gibbs, along with GM Bobby Beathard, also added sized at WR with Art Monk and among the 3 TEs he kept on his roster.)
    ___________________

    I remember Taylor just *exploding* into OLTs. And as the OTs added weight, so did LT.

    Ziggy’s got some pretty good size and weight. He’s not as big as OLTs . . . but neither was Taylor. Still, Ansah is not 50-60 lbs lighter than OLTs.

    QUESTION: Does Ziggy have the kind of explosiveness at the point of engagement that Taylor had, where the OT either gets pushed into the QB or the O-Coordinator has to keep a TE or RB to help?

    Taylor, besides uncommon strength, had great instincts as well. He was driven.

    I’m not suggesting Ansah is the next LT.

    I’m just wondering if Ansah has the explosive power of an LT to push around OTs.

    Ziggy’s sure as heck got speed.

    But does he have the kind of acceleration when combined with his mass gives you the force of an LT . . . or a Ricky Jackson even?

    • D-von

      I wouldn’t go that far. He’ my favorite prospect in this draft but he has to work on a couple of things to even get in LT’s league. First leverage is a problem. Pad level is to high. Second he has inconsistent hands play. A monster if uses proper hand technique but will forget at times to do that. This goes with the “push” that you were asking about. I’ve seen him man handle OTs but only when he is using good hand technique.

      • ACViking

        D-von . . . I agree.

        Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

        I just was wondering if Ziggy has the kind of power needed to play Rush OLB. I thought of Taylor because of the size/speed factor.

        When Taylor came out of UNC in the ’81 draft, he was the consensus best player in the draft.

        But the Saints had the 1st choice (G-men 2nd). Bum Phillips was the Saints’ HC. And he’d just had a great run of success with RB Earl Campbell in Houston.

        So — ironically — the coach who brought the 3-4 defense to the NFL on an every-down basis passes on the most dominant Rush-OLB ever for a Heisman winning RB named George Rodgers.

        Bum was fire a couple years later.

    • TommyLawlor

      Ziggy flashed really good power at times. In scout terms he’s a “speed to power” guy, meaning that he starts running and will hit his target. By that point, he’s generated power and is able to use it to affect the blocker.

      Watch the first play of the ND game and you’ll see him run over the LT. That’s good power. I don’t know that I would say it is explosive, but it is impressive.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFYELG3ItAk

  • deg0ey

    I’m waiting for Big Red to shock the world with #1. Ziggy seems as good a choice as any to me.

    • Baloophi

      I’ve got you locked down for the Reid wildcard pick. I love it.

      • ICDogg

        with the BYU and Mormon background Ziggy has, I’m surprised we haven’t heard it more

        • Baloophi

          Though he doesn’t have the BYU pedigree, I believe Star Lotulelei might be Mormon as well (his father is an LDS seminary teacher who got his degree from? BYU).

    • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

      My money’s on Andy taking Geno Smith and making every mock drafter’s head explode.

      • deg0ey

        That could be the funniest thing that happens all season; might as well not even play the games, there’s no topping that.

    • Geagle

      I think Gus Bradley will be the one to take him….Ziggy and Predator just goes together like Peanut butter and Jelly

  • Steven Dileo

    Ziggy Ansah and Margus Hunt. It would be really interesting if Chip and Howies decided to draft those players with their first 2 picks.

    • TommyLawlor

      Hunt would be a slam dunk Chip Kelly pick if not for his age. He’s going to turn 26 this year. That will turn off some teams. Not sure how the Eagles feel.

  • new coach

    isn’t 24 years old a concern? I realize his football age isnt that much, but still

    • D-von

      On the other hand, he hasn’t been football that long so he body is ‘younger” in football time

      • deg0ey

        But he’s been playing other sports, so he’s about his age in ‘sports terms’. Not sure that necessarily makes a difference, though.

        • Anders

          I played non contact sports like track and with him been from Ghana soccer I suppose.

    • TommyLawlor

      Usually 25 and above is where there becomes a concern.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

    Tommy, can you expand on what it is Ziggy needs to learn in order to be successful at the NFL level?

    The fact that he’s considered raw but yet played all over the place at BYU seems an odd juxtaposition to me. I get that there are a lot of fine points he’d have to master as you referred to him as “jack of all trades, master of none”. But what exactly are those? If, like you said, defense is more about the athleticism and just “go and get the ball”, wouldn’t his versatility kind of negate his lack of precision?

    • TommyLawlor

      Hands and feet. You need to know where to attack blockers with your hands. You need to know which foot should go where to maximize power and to put you in the ideal spot when trying to set the edge. NFL players do a lot of karate training to learn how to develop “violent hands”. That’s the kind of stuff that Ansah would need. He’s got good natural instincts, but needs work to refine certain techniques.

    • ICDogg

      I think he needs to learn some varied pass rushing moves. Basically he has a speed rush and a bull rush. Could make good use of, say, a swim move.

  • http://twitter.com/benjabad Ben Hert

    Kind of OT, but semi-related:

    Why don’t we see more international players in the NFL?

    I think the answer really boils down to the lack of (US) football’s prevalence outside the US. With basketball, baseball, and hockey, there is an opportunity to play the sport outside of the US, very unlike the NFL, and develop the skills needed to get noticed by US talent evaluaters (-ors?). Perhaps a foray into making football a more international sport by the NFL wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

    I was watching a special on Ziggy, and he was talking about life before he came to BYU, and he just sounded like an average guy where he came from. It blows my mind to think that there are hundreds if not thousands of guys across the world that could be “Ziggy’s”, guys who could be athletic freaks that would put a lot of our American players to shame. Think of all the great athletes in the world, and what the NFL would be like to get a guy like Cristiano Ronaldo as a WR, or heck, even QB (I think soccer players would make brilliant QB’s…every soccer player is required to do a lot of on-the-spot thinking and planning ahead at high levels of play). Obviously, its hard to make the direct correlation of tennis/soccer/hockey players to “XXX skill position”, but the mind could run wild with possibilities.

    Just an OT random thought I had as I read this article. I know there are a few international Eagles fans here, so I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on what position you think your favorite international athlete could/would play.

    • deg0ey

      I still wish someone had offered Jonah Lomu more money to play football. The Cowboys reportedly offered him a practice squad contract but he was making more money playing rugby. Would’ve made a helluva player, though. He was 6’5, 280lbs, supposedly ran 100m in 10.8 seconds (the Cowboys projected him at a 4.5 40) and was pretty much impossible to tackle. Stick him at RB and watch him rack up the yards… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsXTa7UCGlk

      • Baloophi

        He has the exact opposite hairline as me.

    • holeplug

      “Perhaps a foray into making football a more international sport by the NFL wouldn’t be such a bad thing.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NFL_Europe

      • deg0ey

        And more recently http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NFL_International_Series

        As someone that lives in the UK, I can tell you these are a very big deal among fans. Haven’t been myself (waiting until maybe the Eagles come here, which I know would piss off a lot of y’all but damn it’d be sweet!) but there’s always good attendance and the sport has quite the following.

        The downside from a talent development perspective is that there’s pretty much no opportunity to play the game before you reach college age and by that time if you’re that good of an athlete you’ve already been tapped up to play something else.

    • DanJ3645

      In the UK the game is played at a very amateur level.

      There are maybe 50 teams playing contact football below the age of 18.

      The University and adult level of competition has been described to me, by a USC track scholarship alumni (and he was offered a walk on football squad place), as comparable to ‘reasonable’ High School football.

      There is one under 18 team (affiliated to a sports collage – ages 15-18) that is developing high level talent in the UK. They have now had 3 or 4 players recruited to play in America at the collegite level. http://www.americanfootballleague.co.uk/pridesite/

  • deg0ey

    ” I thought, Whoa! I looked over at [left guard] Shaquille Mason and was like, ‘Good luck, dude.’ Ansah killed us. He was all over the place all day. But the crazy thing was, the whole time he was smiling and very polite, like, ‘This is fun; thank you for playing with us today.’ You don’t want to like a guy who is beating up on you, but you couldn’t help it with him.””

    Right, that’s me sold. I’m all in favour of getting the best players, but there’s something to be said for having someone that seems like a genuinely good guy to root for.

    • D-von

      omoregie uzzi stated on his twitter account that he never said that

      • deg0ey

        Well that makes me sad. Also makes me question whether the other quotes in that article are genuine. Either way, though, it seems like Ziggy’s a good guy, so my point still stands with or without corroboration from his opponents.

        • D-von

          I hope the others are true too.

  • T_S_O_P

    After the read, I also get the feeling that it maybe just as ironic if Reid (and his new 3-4 D) picked Ziggy number 1.

  • ICDogg

    Bovada Sportsbook has odds on the pick

    2013 NFL Draft – Who will be the 4th Pick Overall?

    Star Lotulelei+175
    Lane Johnson+150
    Chance Warmack+900
    Dion Jordan+200

    Interesting that these are the only guys listed in their prop bet

    • Baloophi

      Do you think they factor in trades?

      • ICDogg

        “Eagles must select 4th for action”

        Here’s another interesting one:

        2013 NFL Draft – Who will be the 3rd Pick Overall?
        Oakland must select 3rd for action.
        Shariff Floyd -600
        Other Player +350

        • A_T_G

          So, Oakland isn’t very good at the whole “smokescreen” thing?

          Or… they are very, very good at it.

          • Geagle

            basically…..They really pidgeon toed themselves by basically losing their entire Defensive Line and not adding anyone…Then again, wouldnt surprise me to see them take Geno, Star or Sheldon

      • Geagle

        I definitely think they Factor in trades! I think they are certainly factoring the fact that Fish and Joekel could both be gone in the top 3, giving great odds for Lane to be the 4th pick…whether its the Eagles, or the Lions giving us the #132 pick in the draft to take Lane at #4, or a team like the Cardinals jumping ahead of the Lions to take Lane 4th…makes alot of sense to me that the best adds at #4 are for Lane…

        Eagles draft Dion Jordan and aquire #132 from Lions!! Its going down!!!

    • deg0ey

      I’ve seen this kind of thing posted in places before, but as a Brit I haven’t got a clue how to decipher those numbers. Presumably the smaller numbers indicate a more likely outcome, but apart from that I’m out.

      • Baloophi

        The positive numbers (+900 on Chance Warmack for example) mean that a bet of $100 would win $900. So, on the positive side, the higher number, the longer odds.

        The negative numbers (-600 Shariff Floyd for Oakland’s pick, as an example) indicate what you’d have to bet to win $100. So a bet of $600 would win $100.

  • ICDogg

    By the way, the Pats need to draft Tank Carradine so the Boston fans can sing his name to the tune of a certain Neil Diamond song.

    • A_T_G

      And if he turns into a bust, they can just drop the p’s in the second line.

    • Baloophi

      I know it’s probably not “Kentucky Woman”…

  • A_T_G

    The way I am hoping things go are to look at it as there are “sure things” only at OT, both of whom will likely be gone. If a sure thing isn’t available, to for maximum potential. This reasoning has me hoping for Jordan, Ziggy, and Johnson.

    Great title, by the way.

    • Mac

      Agree 100%

  • ACViking

    Re: Interviews

    Off topic from EA, but the question about interviews applies across the board.

    Today, PFT quotes USC QB Matt Barkley from a recent interview with Yahoo Sports. (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/22/barkleys-comments-on-usc-leadership-dont-speak-well-for-kiffin/)

    I’m posting the following comments, which (as PFT noted) seem to reflect criticism of HC Lane Kiffin.

    I’m curious whether — assuming these comments were made in an interview session with an NFL team’s braintrust — this kind of frank observation is a *negative*:

    “I learned how to handle adversity last season, and maybe I could have done a few things differently. I could’ve had a bigger voice, given more input and taken it to the next level — pretty much as the owner of the company might . . . not just letting things happen. You put faith in your coaches, but when you see trends, things not happening the right way, and when the team rests on your shoulders, it’s almost like you have to step up. You can’t just let these things go by and watch them disintegrate in front of you. You’ve got to put the glue in somewhere. Looking back, I wish I’d been more forceful.”

    [PFT: Barkley . . . suggested that it was Kiffin’s play calling that was forcing his hand: Barkley says Kiffin was so enamored with wide receiver Marqise Lee that Barkley wasn’t able to get the ball into the hands of the Trojans’ other starting receiver, Robert Woods.]

    “Kiff kind of suited the play-calling toward Marqise,” Barkley said. “It was rough at times, because defenses kinda knew what was coming. It was sort of predictive. Robert Woods is a great player. . . . You want to be respectful of your coaches, because they are your elders, but when it falls on your shoulders, you probably should get involved.”

    __________________

    T-Law (and everyone else) . . . what do you think?

    • Baloophi

      Interesting question.

      To me, there’s a big difference between what you say publicly (i.e., to Yahoo Sports) versus what you say in the closed-door interview (which is what you’re asking).

      My point being, if Barkley were to say the same things, but in a different way behind closed doors, than it wouldn’t seem like negative coach bashing, as opposed to an honest, evaluation. I would hope – in those close door interviews – he would have specific things to point to (for example, “on this 3rd and short play against Notre Dame, Kiffin called for a deep post to Marquise Lee. I wish it had been a short out to Robert Woods.”)

      If he simply speaks in general terms (as he does in the Yahoo interview) about how Kiffin made things hard for him by being predictive, then it sounds like an excuse, and therefore “negative.”

      The fact that he said that publicly is kind of bad both ways – making an excuse, and doing it for everyone to see.

    • TommyLawlor

      I think the fact Barkley said the stuff on the record makes it okay. And frankly, he could say that stuff to Kiffin’s face and I think Lane would be okay with it.

      Players who rip their former coaches/staffs to pass blame…that is where the problem comes in. If you ask EJ Manuel why he’s still a project and he blames Jimbo Fisher…that’s a problem. If you ask Tyler Bray why he was so inconsistent at UT and he blames Derek Dooley, that’s a problem.

      That stuff would be even worse if done behind closed doors. If you’re going to be critical of a coach, be willing to own the comments and stand by them.

      • ACViking

        T-Law:

        Based on your answer, I like Barkley. I like his guts.

  • CheesesteakWilly

    Every one of those Ziggy Ansah stories sounds like it came from the plot of The Waterboy. Just had an entertaining thought of him driving his lawn mower to the novacare.

  • ICDogg

    draft over-unders

    Geno Smith 8.5
    Matt Barkley 37.5
    Marcus Lattimore 84.5
    Tavon Austin 13.5
    Mante Te’o 25.5
    Eddie Lacy 22.5
    Tyrann Mathieu 75.5

    • Geagle

      Id Take the overs in everyone except maybe Lacey

  • Eric Weaver

    I don’t know if anyone has asked this, but is he a mormon? If so, do we have any concerns about him going on his 2 year mission trip, or has that already been done? If it hasn’t, do we have any concerns that he could disappear for two years, coupled with the fact he’s already a little older?

    • ACViking

      Missions are (i) not mandatory (but you better have a good reason), and (ii) done during college, not after.

      Ziggy went to BYU after being converted by the LDS church.

  • SteveH

    The Ziggy Ansah interview is awesome, I love this bit:

    “Ansah killed us. He was all over the place all day. But the crazy thing was, the whole time he was smiling and very polite, like, ‘This is fun; thank you for playing with us today.’ You don’t want to like a guy who is beating up on you, but you couldn’t help it with him.”

    Also, word on the street is Jimmy’s mock draft is going to be 17,000 words long. You aren’t going to let that hack beat you, are you Tommy?

  • Midnight_Greenville

    So, a question for the draftniks. Everyone is talking about moving down from 4 to pick up extra picks. But how much could they pick up by moving down from 35 on day 2? Someone invariably drops to the second round that teams have first round grades on. I am curious whether a team might give up a 3rd rounder (or more) to swap second round picks with us once they have a night to salivate over someone they covet. Is that just crazy talk? It seems like a great situation to be in.

    • deg0ey

      It wouldn’t surprise me if such an offer exists, but we probably won’t have an idea of who’s interested until we see who falls. Also, if the Eagles have a first round grade on him too then we might be better off just staying put.

      • Midnight_Greenville

        I agree, if there’s someone they value it’s hard to give it up for more picks later (same as with #4 overall). I was just thinking that while everyone is thinking “trade down from 4″ that given the perceived depth in the draft this year, that we could still use our (hopefully) rare top 5 pick and still parlay some of our assets into an extra 3 or 4. I really believe that separating the first and second rounds makes it more interesting. Almost like two separate drafts on consecutive days, each with its own set of trade possibilities.

  • HazletonEagle

    I have said for a few weeks now that Ansah is my top choice. Jordan is second.
    Ansah and Margus Hunt to combine with Cox and Barwin. wow. I noticed the same thing as you Tommy- how many different positions he plays in a single game, and that sold me. He is a player that you can move anywhere and make offenses figure out where he is lined up and where he is going. I want him, and I do think he is worth the 4th overall pick.

  • izzylangfan

    Is Ziggy the Ansah? You must be Joeckel!

    • A_T_G

      You get a Star.

      • Baloophi

        A big, shiny one… like a Shariff might wear.

  • Geagle

    I think Ziggy will go to the Jags or Browns…drafting him as your predator IMO, significantly lowers his bust potential. could also see im being drafted by the Lions, because Flanking Su and Fairley with the ZIGGster is just NAsty………..If Ziggy started to slip, and gets to like #11, would be cool to see the Steelrs make a power play and go get him

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  • BrettConnolly

    I loved this article, and it has me thinking of his athleticism on the defensive side of the ball and how exciting as a project he’d be. I started to imagine him paired with DeMeco Ryans on the inside. He is “extremely smart,” and described by coaches as, “cerebral.” He’s 6″6′ and 270. What a complete monster he would be as a WILB. He can run down pretty much anybody, has exceptional ball awareness and is instinctive. Would the Eagles go this route? Honestly, I could see them going this route. Ziggy lined up everywhere on the line and is rangy. He has a sixth gear, and is very coachable. Giving him a look at ILB would be taking one of the top defensive talents and getting literally the most possible out of him. If he can’t transition to ILB, he is still a hell of a 5 tech that can switch to DT on passing downs. It’d be a lot to ask, but he could be a game-changing, 3 down middle linebacker if he got properly coached. Playmaker, plain and simple. I am rooting for him at the next level.