Our 2013 Community Mock Draft [is underway]! In this annual exercise we put the fates of all 32 teams in the hands of our community. This exercise accomplishes several things. For one, we often have a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to the NFL. We will get a glimpse into the needs of each of the franchises. It also helps us get familiar with each of the first-round prospects because like last year in a trade up for Morris Claiborne, you never quite know what the future holds for Dallas.
Every GM has been informed of their team's needs and is ready to roll. Let's see who will be selected with the fifth pick in the draft!
Selection: (DE) Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
Here's our GM with his explanation of the selection:
Why the pick: The Lions are on the board with their biggest need being a DE. Luckily, BYU pass rusher Ziggy Ansah is available.
Ansah is truly an athletic freak who dominated at the senior bowl and showed flashes during his season at BYU. He is very raw football wise, but he could be an explosive pass rusher even in his first season. He has received comparisons to the Giants' Jason Pierre Paul. JPP was considered an athletic freak coming out of college who was raw in terms of playing football, the same as as Ansah. However, JPP benefited from not starting his first year with the Giants and playing in certain downs while learning the technique and mentality of playing the DE position in the NFL. Being drafted to the DE hungry Lions who lost both their starters this year, Ansah will not be afforded this luxury.
He will be expected to be an immediate contributor as a starter at one of the DE positions. While there will definitely be some growing pains his first year, look for Ansah to become a better overall player as the season goes on.
I also considered drafting Bjoern Werner, but I went with the pick that has more upside. While Werner is probably more polished as a player, Ansah has a much higher ceiling and could potentially be a very disruptive playmaker at DE for the Lions. That being said, Ansah is also one of the riskier picks in this year's draft. However, his upside is undeniable and in my view the rewards outweigh the risks.
The Lions also need help on the interior offensive line and at safety, but those positions can be found in later rounds.
HIGH PRIORITY TEAM NEEDS (lower number indicates higher priority) according to Drafttek.com
-- Threat Level Red (priority 1-2): 4-3 Defensive End, Free Safety, Corner
-- Threat Level Orange (priority 3-4): 4-3 OLB, Guard, Tight End, Possession Receiver
-- Threat Level Yellow (priority 5-6): Strong Safety, Center, Right Tackle
-- Threat Level Green (priority 9): Quarterback, Running Back, Feature Receiver, Slot Receiver, Left Tackle, 43 Defensive Tackle, 43 MLB
-- Drafttek.com ranked #14 Overall, #3 at the position
-- Russ Lande, National Football Post: #6 Overall, #1 at the position
SUMMARY - Ezekiel Ansah is clearly going to be a hotly debated player in NFL war rooms because while his inexperience and raw technique may scare some scouts off, coaches are sure to fall in love with his freakish athletic ability and strength. He does not know how to use his hands at this stage in terms of shedding blockers and setting up a variety of pass rush moves, but his ability to consistently lock out with his long arms allows him to consistently set the POA and hold his ground at the LOS. He possesses outstanding first step quickness for a man his size, which was prominently on display at the Senior Bowl, when Detroit's coaching staff lined him up wide and let him continually abuse OTs with his raw speed off the edge. One of his traits that makes me feel more comfortable about his ability to learn the NFL game is his instincts, as he is surprisingly quick to locate the ball and understands how his man blocks him changes the design of the play. He is certain to be taken within the top ten picks of the draft, and if he can put his entire package together he will likely become an All-Pro player, whether he plays as a 5-technique or OLB for a 34 or a DE for a 43 defense.
-- CBSSports.com ranked #10 overall, #3 at the position
-- DraftInsider.Net ranked #12 overall, #2 at the position
-- DraftCountdown ranked #7 overall, #1 at the position
-- Scout.com ranked #9 overall, #2 at the position
-- Mike Mayock ranked #3 at the position
-- NFLDraftScout.com profile (Rob Rang):
STRENGTHS: Rare combination of size, athleticism and natural power. Has a long, well-distributed frame with room for additional muscle mass without a significant loss of quickness. Flashes an explosive initial punch to the offensive lineman to gain space.
Possesses rare balance that allows him to maintain his feet despite taking long-strides that gobble up space between he and the quarterback with surprising speed. Balance and surprising lateral agility is also evident in changing directions. Has good -- not great -- strength but very good natural explosiveness to bull rush his opponent into the pocket.
Slips off blocks when the ball-carrier is near, latching on with his long arms and big hands for the drag-down tackle. Seemed to improve nearly game to game in 2012, especially when it came to locating the football. Began to sniff out screens and draws as the season wore on, demonstrating good awareness and hustle to complement his physical traits. Already shows excellent recognition and use of hands in pass defense, getting his hands up to knock down nine passes in 2012.
Possesses significant untapped potential and is an ascending talent whose best football is ahead of him.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks elite first-step quickness off the snap. Relies too much on his speed, size and an explosive first punch to shock his opponent with his initial surge, struggling to break free if the blocker grabs a hold of Ansah's jersey or chest plate.
Must learn to chop with his hands most consistently and powerfully to break free once engaged. Allows his pad level to rise and can be pushed back in the running game. Has only played football since 2010 and has just one season as a starter.
Now On The Clock: Cleveland Browns