NEPD Editor: James Christensen
In the annual cacophony of private workouts and official visits by the Patriots, a prospect will sometimes catch your eye and make you think twice about things.
Ezekiel Ansah is just that sort of prospect.
According to a source close to the situation, the Patriots will be working Ansah out this Saturday. Read on to see what I think of the player and the potential draft pick.
Sudden athleticism. That is one of the ways to describe what you see when you put on Ansah’s game footage. “Inexperienced” might be another – he did once try a soccer-style slide tackle. Which one are you going to get this fall? The athleticism or the inexperience? Both?
That is the biggest question that NFL Scouts, General Managers and Head Coaches are going to have to answer in two weeks. Can an NFL team take a chance on a guy that might be a bust, but could have a Jason Pierre-Paul impact? Where is his value?
I’m sure that Bill Belichick has already had that discussion with Nick Caserio and they will be putting the final touches on their evaluation of Ansah this Saturday when they hold a private workout with the former BYU defender.
What Belichick, Caserio, and other NFL evaluators are going to want to see is improved hand usage, ball awareness, football intelligence and use of leverage.
Ansah has length, but doesn’t always use it to his advantage. He has speed and flexibility, but those can be used against him with misdirection. You can read more here on Ansah’s strengths and weaknesses.
If Ansah is able to expand his game, he has the size and athletic ability to play nearly any position. 3-4 Elephant, 4-3 DE, sub-package DT, 3-4 DE… all are possibilities depending on how Ansah and his coaching staff decide to sculpt his body.
It might be a bit unrealistic to project Ansah to the Patriots as he has been slotted in the top fifteen of nearly every 2013 NFL Mock Draft since he entered the national stage during the Senior Bowl. That said, I wouldn’t have thought Vince Wilfork was going to fall to the Patriots either. The fact that the Patriots are even taking the time to work Ansah out tells you something.
If Ansah does fall to within striking range of the Patriots – say pick 19 and on – trading up is in the realm of possibility, even with the dearth of draft picks at the Patriots disposal in 2013.
Adding Ansah to the front seven once again gives New England the flexibility to be incredibly multiple on defense. Wilfork, Armstead, Ansah and Jones with their hand in the dirt, with Spikes, Mayo and Hightower behind them is a pretty menacing sight.
In addition to Ansah, the Patriots will also be working out linebacker Brandon Ogletree. Ogletree led a stout run defense in tackles the last two years and has 4.6 speed to boot.
Other names we continue to hear linked to New England are Utah defensive back Reggie Topps and Northwestern DL Brian Arnfelt. Arnfelt’s 4.8 speed at over 300 pounds is certain to garner some attention, especially as a possible 3-4 DE / 4-3 DT ‘tweener.