Rookie Review: Ziggy Ansah
December, 2, 2013
By Kevin Weidl | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Joe RobbinsRookie DE Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah should be in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year.During head coach Jim Schwartz's current tenure with the Lions, it has been no secret that one of his main philosophies has been to build up a disruptive defensive front line. This was a formula Schwartz saw plenty of success using during his seven-season run as the Titans' defensive coordinator prior to becoming Detroit's head coach in January of 2009. In fact, Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew have used three first-round picks and selected six defensive linemen overall through their first five drafts with Schwartz at the helm.
In 2010, the Lions selected DT Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) with the second overall selection before taking DT Nick Fairley (Auburn) the following year with the 13th overall pick. Although he struggles to keep his composure on the field at times, Suh has been the linchpin for Detroit's defensive line, while Fairley has started to bring a solid return over the past two seasons after a slow start as a rookie.
This past April, Mayhew and Schwartz pulled the trigger on BYU DE Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah with the fifth overall pick, and took South Carolina DE Devin Taylor in the fourth round. These selections made sense after the Lions had lost both starting defensive ends -- Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch -- to free agency in the offseason. Both Ansah and Taylor have shown well as rookies, but it is Ansah who has stolen the show and currently leads all rookies with seven sacks through the first 13 weeks of the regular season.