Last offseason, the Bills made a big splash in free agency, snagging DE Mario Williams for $96 million over 6 years, with $50 million guaranteed. They also brought in DE Mark Anderson for 4 years, $19.5 million. These were additions to a DE rotation that already included Chris Kelsay and Shawne Merriman.
Fast-forward one year:
- Chris Kelsay: Retired.
- Shawne Merriman: Retired.
- Mark Anderson: Missed the final 11 games due to a torn meniscus. Turns 30 in May.
- Mario Williams: 10.5 sacks, 2 FF. Nice season coming off a serious injury the previous year, but not what you would ideally like from a guy you’re paying like a franchise QB.
When I attended the Senior Bowl this year, I hadn’t yet studied up on Ansah. He was a player with whom I had absolutely no prior opinion. I read a few reviews from guys who follow the draft 365 days of the year that were disappointed in Ansah’s play, and I think that was due in part because they had higher expectations.
From my perspective, an observer with no expectations at all, I found Ansah to be extremely intriguing. On the first day of practice, the QB was throwing a short pass to the right side, and a DE got way up to bat the pass down. And I mean waaay up. It was a highly athletic play, that not many NFL’ers can make. I didn’t see initially who it was in the crowd, but I kept my eye on him until the mass of bodies broke up. It was Ansah. On Day 2, he beat an OT with an absolutely nasty inside spin move, that again, not many NFL’ers can make with the quickness that Ansah displayed. In the Senior Bowl game itself, he was perhaps the most impressive player on the field.
At the Combine, he absolutely lit it up. Here were his measurables, keeping in mind that he put up these numbers at 6’5, 271:
According to a report by the National Football Post’s Dan Pompei, Ansah didn’t even train for the Combine.
Any team that drafts Ansah is going to have to realize that he could be a project, but he may have the highest ceiling of any player in the draft. The Bills clearly showed last offseason that they were placing a high priority on getting after the passer. It didn’t take, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t keep trying.
New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine wants to bring a multiple front defense to Buffalo. Ansah is a guy who, depending on the game situation, could play any of the 4 DL positions in the 4-3, and either DE or OLB spot in the 3-4. That’s the kind of athletic, versatile player who could allow Pettine to show all sorts of creative defensive looks.