Of course they did.
The Lions would draft the one football player who doesn’t know how to play football.
I’m not saying it was the wrong pick. I’m not proclaiming Ansah to be a bust. The Lions just would.
Don’t get it twisted: Ziggy Ansah is a freak. A draft can only hope for a small handful of prospects whose measurable approach those of Ansah. He sports a 4.63 40-yard-dash—faster than oft-compared Jason Pierre-Paul’s 4.71—combined with a 34.5 inch vertical and raw strength that resulted in 21 bench press reps at the combine. Packed into a 6’5”, 271 lb. frame equipped with long reach, Ansah is a physical marvel.
The issue isn’t Ansah; it’s the Lions.
The Lions aren’t just another team when it comes to the draft. Detroit has developed a long tradition of annual spots atop the draft order with only rare successes. For every Calvin Johnson, there is a Mike Williams. For a good pick like Matt Stafford, there is a Mike Williams.
The Lions are a talented team coming off a disappointing year. While they certainly have holes on their roster, the filling of those holes could vault the Lions into playoff contention. Despite the 5th overall pick, the Lions had the opportunity to add someone who could step in and be an immediate impact.
Ziggy Ansah has 4.5 career sacks. He has been playing football for all of three years. He also has all the physical tools to be the NFL’s best pass rusher. That is why Jim Schwartz and the Lions couldn’t resist the temptation to snag him with their first pick, and it is why Lion Nation has reason to be optimistic. A history of 1st round busts also gives this weary group of fans a reason to shake their collective head.
Ansah is both intriguing and simultaneously terrifying for Lions fans because he represents two possible paths already traveled. Ziggy could be the Calvin Johnson of pass rushers, and Detroit fans know just how special that is. However, he also represents the possibility of another bust, and after a disappointing season with a talented roster, the Lions could truly use an already-developed player.
Then again, it is sports. The not-so-distant-past of Lions’ draft blunders makes it easy to go the safe route, but Ansah’s nearly limitless potential could anchor Detroit’s defensive line for years to come.
Still. The Lions just would.