The Lions were impressed enough with Ziggy Ansah’s raw talent to take him fifth overall in this year’s draft.
Now, all they have to do is teach him how to play football.
The BYU defensive end’s been playing the game for just three years, and has started nine games, so the work of the Lions coaching staff is still in the remedial phase.
“It’s all new to him,” coach Jim Schwartz said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “We did talk about how Ziggy was an inexperienced player, but he was very instinctive playing things like screens and reverses and some trap blocks and draws and things like that that you would think an inexperienced player would struggle on. He did well on all those things.
“But our scheme is a lot different. It helped that we had him a week at the Senior Bowl. He got introduced to some of the techniques that we play. But all our rookies, their heads are spinning right now. A lot’s being asked of them.”
None more so than Ansah, who doesn’t have the luxury of a redshirt year, not with defensive end Cliff Avril gone to Seattle and elder Kyle Vanden Bosch released.
“I do think that’s a constant process,” Schwartz said. “I think if you asked veteran players along our defensive line, they’d always say they’re working on their technique. But, I mean, he doesn’t have a lot of time. None of our rookies have a lot of time.
“They’re not going to move our opener back because there’s a rookie that’s trying to get up to speed. And when you’re there, you’re not graded on the curve. You’re not graded on the rookie curve or the inexperienced player [curve]. The final score is the final score. So there is urgency for him to get everything, but he’s done a good job so far.”
Those lessons will have to be learned quickly, as the Lions don’t have many attractive options otherwise. But they drafted Ansah hoping he’d be a quick study.