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Dolphins’ Options in First Round: Ziggy Ansah

In a passing league dominated by quarterbacks, the Miami Dolphins were not equipped to succeed in 2012. On offense, they started rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and arguably the blandest receiving core in the entire league.

But what proved even more costly and ultimately became the Dolphins’ Achilles’ heel, was a pass defense that ranked 27th and struggled to get off the field in crucial situations.

Much of the blame was placed on a struggling Sean Smith and the lack of another quality starter at cornerback. And rightfully so. There was simply no depth at a position that suffered after Vontae Davis was traded to the Colts and Richard Marshall was sidelined with a back injury.

But what some fans overlooked was a pass rush that too often than not disappeared on key third downs. Cameron Wake was his dominant self, but there was just no one else on the roster that provided any sort of consistency getting after the quarterback. Finding another pass rusher that opposing offensive lines would have to game plan for, would surely improve the pass defense and would help mask any remaining deficiencies in the secondary.

That’s why the argument could be made that the Dolphins should hold off on drafting a cornerback until the second or third round in a deep class of corners and snag a defensive end like Ziggy Ansah in round one instead.

Ezekiel Ansah, Defensive End, BYU

Height: 6-5
Weight: 271
40-yard dash: 4.63
Bench: 21 reps

Strengths: Explosive athlete. Great combination of size, length, and foot speed. Has agility to sink hips in order to gain leverage. Speed to turn the corner. Gets off snap quickly. Solid motor. Adequate strength to hold his ground vs. the run. Tons of upside.

Weaknesses: Very raw athlete. Lacks proper technique often. Showed lack of stamina at time, which brings up a questionable work ethic. Is a considerable risk. A hit or miss player.

Film Room

Why draft Ziggy?

The Dolphins broke the piggy bank and spent big money in free agency this offseason for one reason: to close the gap between them and the New England Patriots. To finally put an end to the strangle hold Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have had on the AFC East for over a decade.

Why not follow the blueprint of the team who has been their kryptonite, beating them in their last two Super Bowl appearances. Of course, I’m referring to the New York Giants and their suffocating pass rush. A pass rush that has, more than anything else, proved that Tom Brady is indeed human.

Cameron Wake alone will not help the Dolphins attain that type of production in the pass rush department. Miami needs to find another pure rusher. Jared Odrick, who currently starts at defensive end opposite Wake, is very stout against the run but would be playing inside for most teams. Odrick is not inept as a rusher, but he’ll never be a guy that attracts consistent double teams.

Ziggy Ansah could be the answer for this Dolphins defense. Maybe the final piece of the puzzle to a truly elite unit. Yes, he is considered somewhat of a risk and is a bit raw. But the Dolphins have a proven commodity at defensive end in Cameron Wake. They can afford to take a calculated risk on Ziggy.

Why not?

Jared Odrick is far from an ideal fit at defensive end. But he is still a very solid player. He is a big reason why the Dolphins have been difficult to run on the last couple seasons. Miami is set at defensive tackle with Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, but both are scheduled to become free agents in 2014. The Dolphins would be wise to keep Odrick around for a potential move inside next season.

Yes, Kevin Coyle’s defense needs another threat rushing the quarterback. But finding a situational guy may be a better fit. When you take a defensive end in the first round, odds are you envision him being an every down player, not just a guy who subs in on third down.

The Dolphins may be better suited to find their rusher in the second or middle rounds of the draft. And if they are open to taking an end in the first, why take a guy that is such a hit or miss prospect? Take your risks in the later rounds of the draft. Not the first round where busts can end up costing general managers their jobs.

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4 Responses to “Dolphins’ Options in First Round: Ziggy Ansah”

  1. Tony says:

    I would actually like this pick. Typcial Ireland gonna draft O-line tho

    • Cody Strahm says:

      Well RT is probably this roster’s biggest void at the moment. So while I’d like to see them use their first-round selection on a game-changer like Eifert or Austin or a pass rusher like Ziggy, I wouldn’t blame Ireland at all for going O-line. Especially if an elite talent like Lane Johnson somehow falls to 12.

  2. Darkoak says:

    I don’t see it as we have Vernon and Shelby and there’s talk of bringing Misi in at DE. But anything can happen I guess.

    • Cody Strahm says:

      I would love to see Vernon step into that role and make huge strides in his second season. Looked very raw as a rookie, though, and was very inconsistent.

      Shelby has potential but is far from a player the Dolphins can bank on. Didn’t get much action as a rookie but still hasn’t recorded an NFL sack.

      Misi had the opportunity to rush as an OLB when the Dolphins ran a 3-4. He has a high motor but doesn’t have many counter moves and honestly never materialized as a rusher.

      I still see a need for another pass rusher. But the question is do the Dolphins feel they need one badly enough to use their first-round pick to address the issue?

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