BYU has had 79 players drafted in NFL draft during the last 31 years. Of those 31, 8 have been first round picks. Previously, the Cougar drafted highest has been Jim McMahon at number 5 (though it could be argued that Steve Young would have been a number one pick had he not opted for the USFL)
Tonight, Ziggy Ansah has the opportunity to become the highest Cougar draft choice ever. So where will Ziggy go and how will he transition to the NFL??? These will be some of the most prominent questions of the 2013 NFL Draft
At the Beginning of last season, Ziggy was fighting for playing time at linebacker and hoping to make an impact during his Senior season. No one really expected that and NFL career was even in the cards, and if so, only as a free-agent gamble on a talented athlete. But then, starting Defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna went down to injury in the Boise State game. Ziggy was about to get his chance to shine.
From a Defensive line position, Ziggy provided strength and speed that BYU has never, and may never see again. He provided a strong pass rush from 3-4 defense, and when double teamed, allowed Kyle Van Noy to dominate on the outside. Watching Ziggy play has been one of the most exciting things I have ever witnessed as a Cougar fan. His athleticism and drive allowed him to run plays down from behind, and take players down like a lion after a gazelle.
Draft “Experts” have Ziggy going anywhere from the 2nd pick to the 19th. Most figure he will be a sure top 10 selection. But either way, Ezekiel Ansah will be the ninth first round draft pick wearing Cougar blue.
Spring Football is always a time of optimism and hope. It seems every year there are reports of how much harder they have worked, how much better they have performed, and how much more effective they are going to be next year. There is always an aura of excitement and anticipation! I get that! But this year, there is a chance that optimism might be deserved.
First, We have new players. There is hope in the emergence of a new qb, and a feeling that this crop of Quarterbacks offer several better options than Riley Nelson. We return depth and experience at WR and TE, and may have the best crop of Running Backs that BYU has seen since Harvey Unga left.
Second, we have a new offensive staff. There is a possibility that the past issues at offensive line are being addressed. We have a new offensive scheme, and an old/new play caller. BYU football next fall might be titled, the fast and the furious. The new game plan is to go hard and quick, keeping defenses off balance, and trying to blow opponents away, not just defend and hang on for a victory.
Third, we have, what looks to be a solid defense again. Though Kafusi may not be Ziggy, he is quite a specimen in his own right. Linebackers should be great again, the line should be solid. The secondary has talent, but lacks depth. We should be fine, as long as injuries don’t take too big of a toll.
And after all, there is just something about spring that brings out the optimist in all of us.