The Lions spent the fifth overall pick in the NFL draft on Ziggy Ansah with the idea that he’d make an immediate impact as a pass rusher. But Ansah doesn’t want to make any predictions about exactly how big an impact he’ll make.
Ansah says fans and members of the media are asking him to state a specific goal for a specific number of sacks he plans to record this season, but he’s declining to get into that.
“I’m not trying to put [out any] numbers,” Ansah told the Detroit Free Press. “If I tell you I’m going to get 10 and I get nine, what are you going to say?”
That’s a smart answer: Sack totals are dependent on all sorts of things that any individual player has very little control over, such as whether the Lions are leading most of the time and playing against opposing teams that have to pass a lot, or whether they’re losing most of the time and playing against teams that are running out the clock. Claiming to have a specific number of sacks in mind before the season ignores the reality that no player can predict the exact circumstances of the season ahead.
It’s also worth remembering that while the Lions are counting on Ansah to be a starter as a rookie (especially considering that both of last year’s starting defensive ends, Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch, are gone), they also realize that he’s a long-term project who had never even played football when he enrolled at BYU. We won’t have a full picture of how good a pick Ansah was for the Lions for three or four years.
So there’s no reason to put a specific number on Ansah’s sack total. Suffice to say, however, that when Ansah mentioned nine or 10, he was in the right range: Avril led the Lions with 9.5 sacks last year.