The NFL is interested in expanding its presence internationally, and the world is reciprocating by providing talent for league teams. Kansas City Pro Bowler Tamba Hali (Liberia), standout Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski (Poland) and Giants end Osi Umenyiora (England/Nigeria) are just a few of the many imports found on NFL rosters last year. Expect that number to swell in 2013, thanks in part to these four top prospects.
NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock watched Ansah practice prior to the Senior Bowl and wondered why everyone was so enamored of the 6'5 ¼", 271-pounder. Then, during the game, he watched Ansah track down a receiver on a reverse and was sold. “He is very raw but freakishly gifted,” Mayock says. “He can bend, dip and burst off the end.”
“I didn’t think there was any way he could get him,” Mayock says. Ansah showed that remarkable athletic ability frequently at Brigham Young, but he remains raw. “He’s so gifted, but how quickly will you see a return?” Mayock asks. Ansah ran a 4.63 at the Combine and had a vertical leap of 34 ½ inches, impressive numbers made more remarkable when one considers Ansah did no special training for the event, choosing instead to focus on his studies.
If the “Eastern Block” doesn’t make it as a full-time end, he should make his mark swatting away kicks. While at SMU, the 6'8", 277-pound former discus and shot put standout knocked down 17 of them. But he wasn’t just a specialist. Hunt registered 11.5 tackles for a loss last year, including eight sacks. Hunt lit up the Combine. He ran a 4.6 40, jumped 34 ½ inches and hoisted 225 pounds 38 times on the bench press.
He has the potential to be a 5-technique end in a 3-4 or a base end in the 4-3. NFL Network Draft expert Mike Mayock says Hunt “has a little bit of a tendency to play high,” making him more easily blocked, but he has a pile of potential and should be a second-round pick. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he went higher,” Mayock says.
The ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year could have stuck around Florida State for another season, but why bother? The former youth soccer player has blossomed into an all-around end, posting 13 sacks last year. “He doesn’t have enough of a quick twitch to go against left tackles,” says Mayock. “But he is a first-round pick.”
Werner projects as an end in a 4-3 scheme, and Mayock says he would be best deployed on the left side, against opposing right offensive tackles.
Williams’ journey to Alabama wasn’t an easy one — he signed with Hawaii and played at Arizona Western College before arriving in Tuscaloosa — but he demonstrated tremendous strength against the run as a nose tackle or defensive end. At 6'3", 323, Williams has the size necessary to handle the middle spot on a 3-4 line. “He’s excellent against the run,” Mayock says. “He can push the pocket some on the pass rush with strength and leverage.”
Although Williams didn’t run at the Combine, due to a knee injury, he ran in the 4.9 range at the Alabama Pro Day and displayed solid athleticism (he played rugby and hoops as a youth) in the three-cone drill.
By Michael Bradley