Eagles Wake-Up Call: Birds Check Out Ziggy Ansah

Ziggy Ansah says he knew nothing about American football until he got to BYU.

The 6-5, 271-pound defensive end/outside linebacker grew up playing soccer in Ghana. When he got to Utah, he tried out for the basketball team a couple times, but didn’t make it. He ran track too before eventually deciding to give football a shot.

“I was really athletic,” Ansah said at the Combine, where he ran a 4.63 40. “I didn’t want to just sit around and go to school. I wanted to do something. Since basketball didn’t work out, I wanted to do football.”

Ansah is expected to be a first-round pick in April, and he’ll travel to Philadelphia for an official visit with the Eagles, according to USA Today’s Lindsay H. Jones.

In his only full college season, Ansah had 4.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Given his late introduction to the game, there’s obviously plenty of room for growth. In addition to being 6-5, Ansah has very long arms (35 1/8-inches).

“I’m willing to bet on the kid,” said NFL Network’s Mike Mayock last month. “I think he’s going to go earlier than later. When you get these kind of guys, and [Jason Pierre-Paul], he’s way more raw than JPP was a couple years ago. People want to use that comparison, but he’s not there yet. But I think he’s going to become a good player.”

Ansah didn’t make much of an impression during Senior Bowl practices, but he showed up during the game. The word you’ll most hear associated with him is raw. Given his measurables and athleticism, it seems like a sure bet that some team will take a shot on him early on, quite possibly in the top 10.

USA Today also reported that teams were concerned Ansah was older than 23, but the publication got a hold of his passport, which listed his birthday as May 29, 1989. Still, in his first NFL season, Ansah will be 24, older than most rookies.

We know Chip Kelly prefers length on defense, and Ansah said several teams were looking at him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. While it’ll be an upset if the Eagles pick Ansah at No. 4, it makes sense that they’re doing their homework on him.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Kelly has changed the way the Eagles’ locker room is set up.

T-Mac has some details from EJ Manuel’s workout with the Birds.

The Eagles made a trade, acquiring DE Clifton Geathers from the Colts in exchange for fullback Stanley Havili.

In his latest mailbag, Tim talks Vinny Curry, Trent Cole, Jason Peters and the No. 4 pick.

Yesterday’s draft profile focused on Florida DT Sharrif Floyd.

T-Mac looks at the Dion Jordan injury factor.

Free-agent targets Victor Butler and Vaughn Martin signed elsewhere. Eric Winston could still be in the mix though.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

In a PhiladelphiaEagles.com piece, Tommy Lawlor takes a look at the team’s draft strategy:

The good news about the upcoming draft is where the strengths lie.  There are plenty of good offensive tackles.  The cornerback class is deep.  This is the best group of safeties we’ve seen in a while.  There are plenty of good pass rushers, whether as defensive linemen or linebackers.  The Eagles seem interested in adding a tight end.  That group is deep and talented.

Connor Barwin took out a creative full-page ad to thank Texans fans:

COMING UP

Posts coming up on EJ Manuel, Connor Barwin and the offensive line.

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