Posts Tagged ‘Outside’

BYU defensive end/outside linebacker Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah (47) intercepts a tipped pass against San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA on Dec. 20, 2012. The Cougars defeated the Aztecs 23-6.

BYU defensive end/outside linebacker Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah (47) intercepts a tipped pass against San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA on Dec. 20, 2012. The Cougars defeated the Aztecs 23-6. (Source: patriots.com)

Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah is not the typical NFL prospect. The 6′ 5″, 271 pound BYU Cougar originally hails from Accra, Ghana and grew up playing basketball. When Ziggy came came to America and Provo, Utah, specifically, he ran track for the Cougars for one year and tried and failed twice to walk on to the basketball team. From there, Ansah discovered football and convinced head coach Bronco Mendenhall to give him a chance. Ziggy became a special teams player in his second season in Provo and was starting on the defensive line last season, his senior year.

His full story can be found in these two videos from 2011:

Here are Ansah’s stats from BYU:

Career: 31 games played, 72 total tackles, 39 unassisted, 33 assisted, 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 7 quarterback hits, 9 passes broken up

2012: 13 games played (13 starts), 62 total tackles, 35 unassisted, 27 assisted, 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 6 quarterback hits, 9 passes broken up

Ansah, who originally dreamed of playing in the NBA, is now headed for a career in the NFL and it is time for me to evaluate him. My evaluation will consist of these categories: Agility, Bull Rush, Speed Rush, Run Defense, Speed/Burst, Strength, Pass Defense, Tackle, Read and React and Health.

AGILITY: 

Honestly, Ansah has some of the best natural agility that I have seen in this year’s crop of defensive linemen and linebackers. He can change direction as quick or quicker than just about anybody, and when he is engaged with a lineman (or any type of blocker, for that matter) he throws one of the quickest and best spin moves that I have seen. This spin move is flat out dirty and it is one of Ansah’s best assets. He is not as balanced as I would like to see, but that is because he is still learning and getting comfortable in his pads. 9.0/10.0

BULL RUSH: 

Ansah doesn’t have the strongest bull rush, but that is mainly due to the fact that sometimes he doesn’t stay low and that is a horrible thing for a defensive lineman to do. One of the main thing that coaches preach to defensive linemen is to “Keep your pads low!” When a D-lineman is lower than his offensive counterpart, then he can get leverage and push the o-lineman backward. Now, during my third year of football, I wasn’t very good at this either, but I also am no comparison to Ziggy Ansah. But, Ansah seems extremely coachable and I bet that we will see improvement in this when Ansah takes the field in September for his first NFL game.  7.75/10.00

SPEED RUSH:

When Ansah is lined up in his typical defensive end or outside linebacker spot (he also lined up at nose tackle and defensive tackle at BYU), he has a pretty dang good speed rush. He stays outside and then cuts inside, usually using his spin when he sees that the quarterback has handed the ball off to a running back on a draw or that the QB is setting up to throw the ball. He doesn’t always get inside (notably during the Notre Dame game), but when he does, he causes a ton of disruption for the offense, and if you don’t believe me, check out the Utah State highlights throughout the videos. 8.5/10.0

RUN DEFENSE: 

Ansah is a naturally good tackler, which helps him a ton in his run defense. He’s not the greatest at diagnosing the play (but who is after only three seasons?), but when he does see it, he uses the speed and burst that I will talk about in the next section to catch up to running backs and throw them to the ground. I am honestly hugely impressed with Ansah’s run defense. 8.75/10.00

SPEED/BURST: 

Ansah ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at the Combine in Indy on Monday, sixth best among all the defensive linemen at the event. His speed and burst are even more impressive on the field. As I said in the last section, Ansah can chase down running backs who have gotten past him. There were times in his tape when he would come out of nowhere to make a tackle. He also has an insane burst when he sees a lane on a play. For example, in the Notre Dame game, Ansah was lined up at OLB and was left unblocked on a draw play. Ansah bursts through a lane on the Notre Dame line and takes Irish RB Theo Riddick down to the Notre Dame Stadium grass. That play shows Ansah’s burst more than almost any other. 8.75/10.00

STRENGTH:

If I were to say that Ansah is the strongest d-lineman in the draft, I’d be lying, but he is still really strong. He repped 225 pounds 21 times in the bench press test in Indianapolis and there are tons of plays where Ansah locks out 300+ pound offensive linemen to showcase how strong he really is. There is also a scene in the second video of Ansah’s story (above) that shows how strong he is. At one of BYU’s practices, Ansah lifts a blocking dummy (which, trust me, are not light) about six feet in the air and then throws it down to the ground as if it weighed nothing at all. That play showcased his strength to me more than any other. The best thing about Ansah’s strength is that there is more to come. He will benefit hugely from working with a NFL strength and conditioning coach to build a lot more strength in the weight room. I really cannot wait to see him in the NFL. 9.0/10.0

PASS DEFENSE:

Ziggy Ansah 2

Ansah knock as pass down against Washington State.

Ansah is about as good as it gets when it comes to defensive linemen against the pass. He broke up nine passes and even intercepted a pass this past season. I thought Bjoern Werner was about as good as it got for d-linemen here, but now that I have seen Ansah’s tape, I realize I was wrong. For Ansah, this all just comes naturally, and his pass defense is no exception. 9.25/10.00

TACKLE: 

I stated this earlier, and it seems like I’m saying this a lot, but tackling just comes naturally to Ziggy. He rarely misses a tackle and has learned well on how to form tackle from his coaches at BYU. He hits hard and doesn’t let players escape. If Ziggy gets ahold of a player, they are meeting the turf in some way. 9.0/10.0

READ AND REACT: 

This is an area where Ziggy could improve, but it really has to do with the fact that he’s only been playing the game for three years. It takes a ton of time to be able to read formations and linemen well, and Ziggy can do that, it’s just not as fast as I would like to see. But, I believe that he will improve with time in the NFL. So for right now my rating is 7.0/10.0, but I truly believe that he will improve and improve fast.

HEALTH: 

No injury problems currently, but with an inexperienced player, injuries are always a risk because of poor technique and learning how to defend different things that offensive players do (ex: cut blocks, a lesson I learned the hard way). 10.0/10.0

OVERALL:

If it’s not already obvious, I think that Ziggy Ansah is the best defensive lineman or outside linebacker available in this year’s draft. Overall, he got a score of I think that he has almost limitless potential. Here’s how I see it. If had his ability after only three seasons of football, then I would have a FBS scholarship and still be playing instead of sitting behind my computer screen writing about players. He is one of the most naturally gifted players that I have seen in a l0ng time, and I believe that with some coaching, then he will be an All-Pro defensive player. He is raw, but there is just a ton of potential there. Now as to where Ansah will be drafted. Various sources have him going anywhere from picks 6 to 19, and I believe really believe that he’ll be off the board quick at pick #6 to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are still trying to build a competing team the likes of which they had before the old Browns moved to Baltimore. Ansah will help them out a ton on the defensive side of the ball and they will have the time to properly develop him to his true potential.

HIGHLIGHTS:

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow us on Twitter! @J_Vinton52 @OnTheClockNFL

Tomorrow I will be previewing Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington!

You can call any position you draft a hit or miss proposition, but I think that a pass rusher is probably the most hit or miss position you can draft. Players can be absolutely dominating in college and come to the NFL and do absolutely nothing, i.e. Vernon Gholston. All a scout or general manager can really do is evaluate what they see on film and hope that he works out. With that in mind, Barkevious Mingo from LSU looks great on film and while it is still difficult to say whether or not he will work out in the NFL, I would be shocked if ended up being a complete bust.

Mingo is an intimidating human being; standing at 6’4” he has some great size for a defensive end and has a good wingspan. He has a great knack for batting balls down at the line of scrimmage, which is certainly a skill that NFL scouts will love to see when they watch his film. His length is something that not many human beings have, and it’s something any NFL team would love to add to their front seven.

Barkevious mainly played defensive end in LSU’s primarily 4-3 defensive scheme and did a great job of pushing the line back and creating havoc in the backfield. He also did a pretty good job in coverage when asked to spy on the opposing running back. I could easily see Mingo moving to outside linebacker in a 3-4 if he can continue working on his coverage abilities. It seems like Mingo is very flexible and defensive coordinators will fall in love with figuring out ways to use him their defensive schemes with exotic blitzes and coverages.

While Mingo didn’t have an outrageously high sack total this past season, only recording 4.5 sacks, he was a force in the Tiger’s defense. On nearly every play I watched, I saw him push back the offensive and create a new line of scrimmage, creating chaos in the opposing team’s backfield.  Mingo also plays the run fairly well; in three years for LSU Mingo recorded tackles for loss, a pretty impressive total.

One of the most impressive things I noticed about Mingo is his ability to take on double teams. Mingo was certainly known by other team’s offensive coordinators, so he had to deal with double teams regularly. Even with this hurdle, Mingo was still able to cause a lot of disruption, which is something that really impressed me while watching his film.

Mingo is just simply an impressive player to watch on film. He just seems like the kind of defensive player that can wear down an offensive line over the course of a game. He has great size, good speed, a good arsenal of pass rush moves, can play the run as well as the pass, and has some experience in pass coverage. I would have no problem taking Mingo in the top 10 and I think there is a good chance he makes an impact right away rushing the passer; that being said, there is no way I can be 100% that he won’t be a bust. I can only reiterate that I would be shocked if Mingo ended of being a flop of an NFL player.

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Highlights : 

Jarvis Jones (29) raises his arm as he is about to strip Missouri QB James Franklin (1) on Sept. 8, 2012. The Bulldogs beat the Tigers 41-20

Jarvis Jones (29) raises his arm as he is about to strip Missouri QB James Franklin (1) on Sept. 8, 2012. The Bulldogs beat the Tigers 41-20

Throughout this past season, Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones (6′ 3″, 241 lbs.) played like one of the best defensive players in the nation, and the second best linebacker behind Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o. After the Missouri game, he was even considered a Heisman candidate. Jones, who originally played for USC before transferring to play for Mark Richt and the Bulldogs, put up 14.5 sacks, 85 tackles, 24 tackles-for-loss, 1 interception, 7 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries in 12 games.

Now, he has declared and is preparing for the NFL Draft, and I will be evaluating him. My evaluation will consist of these criteria: Agility, Bull Rush, Speed Rush, Run Defense, Speed/Burst, Strength, Tackle, Read and React, and Health.

AGILITY: 

Jones is not a linebacker with any lack of agility. Georgia ran a 3-4 defense with Jones up on the line as a pass rusher, like the Denver Broncos do with Von Miller. On the line, they run quite a few stunts with Jones darting inside and a lineman going to the outside to replace him. When I played football, we ran a 4-3, but we called this an “Exit” stunt. Jones uses the flexibility that he has been gifted in his hips to turn and get inside quickly and challenge the guard or center that has to block him. This can be see throughout his tapes, but the best example is at 7:41 of the Florida game where Jones darts inside and sacks Jeff Driskel. 9.0/10.00

BULL RUSH: 

Jones, as a pass rusher, uses his bull rush more than I would like. I would love to see him get around the 300+ lb. offensive tackles rather than turn and take them head on. While this sometimes can be effective, most of the time, since he is not the largest or strongest linebacker out there, it just results in a stalemate at the line and Jones ends up missing the play. He has a decent bull rush, but he’s going to have to get a lot stronger for bull rushes to work in the NFL. 8.5/10.0

SPEED RUSH: 

Jones is very fast and this is evident with his speed rush. His speed is not apparent with his 40 time of 4.74, but when he gets an edge and gets around a tackle, there are few quarterbacks that can escape the claws of Jarvis Jones. As I stated above, Jones doesn’t use his speed rush as much as I’d like to see, and if he can start to use it more, and maybe improve on it a little bit, then he could be a great NFL linebacker. That being said, there are times when Jones uses his speed rush but gets strung out by the offensive tackle and ends up completely out of the play far away from the quarterback or any other player for that matter. 8.5/10.0

RUN DEFENSE: 

Jones is a solid tackler, which helps him a ton in run defense, since he is not the best at reading and reacting to plays (I will get into that later). Jones was helped a ton by teams realizing that he was a damn good linebacker and running to the other side of the formation than Jones was lined up on. That strategy was used in the SEC Championship by Alabama and it worked for them, the Tide ran 51 times for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. But I also saw some missed tackles (some due to poor form, usually not wrapping up) by Jones in that game and there were plays throughout Jones’ tapes where once the ball carrier got past him, he would give up on the play and leave it to his teammates to make the tackle. That would be a big minus if I were a NFL team. But there were also plays where the opposite. (This play I am about to mention is a pass play, and I realize I am in the running section, but it best exemplifies what I am talking about) At 10:02 of the Florida tape, Jeff Driskel completes a pass to tight end Jordan Reed but Jones chases the guy down and forces a fumble right before Reed would have crossed the goal line. And, I’ll summarize this giant paragraph here. Jones is a decent run defender, but his role in the NFL will be as a 3-4 OLB pass rusher, and his run defense now is about as good as it needs to be. 8.5/10.0

SPEED/BURST: 

Jones has deceiving speed. As I stated earlier, on tape, Jones looks very fast, but his recorded 40 time is only a 4.74. His burst is best seen in the Florida play I mentioned in the “Agility” section. He has an explosive burst that I like a ton. He gets across the line very quickly and then his speed kicks in. All in all, I really like Jones’ speed and burst. 9.0/10.0

STRENGTH:

I said this earlier in one of the sections, Jones is not one of the strongest linebackers that is in this, or any other year’s for that matter, draft. He’s not a linebacker that overpowers offensive linemen, but he’s strong enough that o-linemen cannot move him, and that helps him a ton. When he uses rip moves or any other strength based move to get around linemen, then he uses the strength that he has to get around the linemen and to the quarterback or running back.I think some time in the weight room and some protein shakes could help this kid a ton as he moves on to the pros. 8.5/10.0

TACKLE:

Jones is a pretty solid tackler most of the time that he is on the field. The SEC Championship this past season serves as an exemption (but it basically does for every part of Jones’ game. I bet that’s not a game he wants to remember). There were very few tackles that I saw him miss outside of the championship game, and that is something that NFL teams will love to see out of him. 9.0/10.0

READ AND REACT: 

I believe that Jones reads plays very quickly, but for some reason it takes him a while to react to plays. There were times where I would be yelling at the tape for him to react to the play and get to the ball carrier. He reacts faster on pass plays than rushes, but he will need to get faster at both if he wants to be really successful at the next level. 8.5/10.0

HEALTH: 

This is my major area of concern with Jarvis Jones. Jones transferred from USC because the Trojan’s doctors said he should quit football because of spinal stenosis, a neck injury he suffered against Oregon his freshman year. This past season, Jones missed two games because of various injuries to his ankle, groin, and shoulder. Jones is still a sure-fire first rounder, but his injuries concern me, and I wonder if they will come back to bother him in the pros. 6.0/10.0

OVERALL: 

Jarvis Jones, whose overall score with me is an 8.39/10.00, is a great 3-4 outside linebacker that reminds me a lot of Von Miller. He is strong, fast, and anything a NFL teams wants in a pass rush specialist. His past injuries concern me, he over pursues a lot of plays, and there are times when he gives up and doesn’t chase after plays, but none of these bother me enough where I wouldn’t take him in the first round. Now where do I see him getting picked? He’ll probably get picked anywhere from #11-#17, with the best chances of him being picked by the Dolphins, Saints, Rams, or Steelers.

HIGHLIGHTS: 

Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow me on Twitter! @J_Vinton52

Next, I will be previewing Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State!