EXCLUSIVE: Cleveland sports radio legend Hiram Boyd strongly suggests that BYU’s Ziggy Ansah might be a good fit for the Browns at #6

by Matt Borcas on February 22, 2013

Matt Borcas is a Mentor, Ohio native who recently emerged from a field of 4,000 competitors to land a part-time job writing about the NFL for ESPN’s Grantland. Matt’s weekly Browns-centric column on the NFL Draft will run here all the way up to draft weekend and through its immediate aftermath.

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My last column generated an outpouring of tweets, none more ominous than this pledge from legendary Cleveland sports radio caller Hiram Boyd:

hiram

Surprisingly, what initially promised to shape up as a bloody Battle Royale ended up devolving into an email exchange between Hiram and me where it became as clear as ever that Hiram is a man of ideas, and especially ones about the NFL draft. It’s also clear that Hiram is a man who watched a lot of college football last season. So I figured that if it’s good enough for the folks at the Plain Dealer to get three columns a week out of three different opinions from Mel Kiper Jr., Mike Mayock or Todd McShay about who might be a good fit for the Browns with the sixth overall pick, then I should make out with a Pulitzer for posting my entire conversation with Hiram, which spans from difference makers, to big boards, to spinal stenosis. And unlike Kiper’s, Mayock’s and McShay’s opinions, which seem to disappear into the mist with every passing season, Hiram’s will always be right here to check back on. If things break as I expect, Hiram’s face will shortly be up on the draftnik’s Mount Rushmore with Mel, Mike and Todd. See for yourself below, and enjoy!

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Matt:

I came across a Cleveland.com article Tuesday in which draft guru Mike Mayock declared that he “wouldn’t want a top-10 pick this year.” He also lamented the class’s lack of “difference-makers” and said that the 5th pick and 25th pick are “very similar.”

However, I believe this class is teeming with difference-makers. If picks 5 and 25 are similar, it’s because the crop of players available is so talented, not mediocre. Sure, the offensive skill positions are relatively weak – although I do love me some Eddie Lacy – but the list of high-level linemen prospects is seemingly endless. This is the strongest DE/OLB class I’ve ever seen (Imagine if Jadeveon Clowney was draft-eligible!).

Here is what the Browns’ big board would look like if I was running the show in Berea:

  1. Ziggy Ansah
  2. Jarvis Jones
  3. Barkevious Mingo
  4. Dion Jordan
  5. Dee Milliner

I’m still not sure what to make of Jordan – to me, he’s almost an Ansah-lite. Where do you stand on these guys?

Hiram:

Ansah reminds of a more powerful version of Michael Johnson – extremely versatile and quick. While he’s relatively new to the sport, he improves with each game and has all the makings of a very dominant player. I think this is the guy the Browns are leaning toward taking because of his awesome upside and versatility.

Jones reminds me of a less powerful, more fluid version of Lamar Woodley. He’s very instinctive and smart, and seems to know how to find the QB, but I was disappointed in him as a pass rusher at times because he got engulfed by the bigger offensive linemen that he played against, and didn’t have a way at countering it. Jones is best in a 3-4; in a 4-3, he’d have to stand up on the first two downs and then rush on passing downs.

Mingo’s upside reminds me of DeMarcus Ware, but he has some refining to do. He possesses the speed to run sideline-to-sideline, never gives up on a play, and is surprisingly good against the run. Downside: He doesn’t display the versatility in moves like I was hoping to see. Outside of the speed rush and swim move, he’s not as advanced as you’d hope. However, if he gets with the right coach, WATCH OUT! I would sit this guy down and have him to watch a ton of Ware and Simeon Rice, because he can be that good.

People need to keep in mind that Mingo was misused at LSU because they played him on the left side of the line, yet his skill set dictates to play right side. This is the guy who is boom-or-bust. He has a chance to make you look really good or put you on the unemployment line.

Jordan reminds me so much of Aldon Smith, but he’ll take time to develop. He has a very nice game and shows tremendous versatility. I was pleased with his quickness and array of moves; on the other hand, I wanted to see a bull rush and never saw it. If the Browns drafted him, I would make it known that he won’t be big time right away, but down the road, after his shoulder heals and he adds some weight, you will have a complete monster!

Milliner’s upside reminds me of bit of Joe Haden. He is fluid and steady, a true playmaker who seems to be around the ball all the time. Nonetheless, I don’t see him becoming a shut-down CB, as he struggles with bigger receivers. All in all, he’s not worth the No. 6 pick; I would never take a Dee Milliner over a pass rusher if they had similar grades.

Matt:

In the event that Browns take Jordan, I respect your willingness to “make it known” to the ill-informed masses that he won’t be an instant stud. Such dedication is why I consider you the Batman of Cleveland – not the hero we need, but the hero we deserve.

Moving along, the Browns appear to be in a fortunate spot where one of their greatest needs (DE) is also the draft’s deepest position. Of Ansah, Jones, Mingo, and Jordan, who would you select at No. 6? I guess we could include Damontre Moore and Bjoern Werner too, but I loathe Moore* and don’t believe Werner meshes well with Horton’s defense.

Why do you think Mingo was misused at LSU? Was Les Miles too busy eating grass/diagramming fake field goals to take notice or something?

Who is the safest DE? Everyone seems like a major risk/reward prospect except Jones, who still has the whole spinal stenosis thing hanging over him. Personally, I think Ansah has the greatest upside simply because he’s only been playing football for three years! Most of his fellow prospects have been playing for more than a decade, yet Ziggy is already at (or has eclipsed) their level. One would expect his upward trend to continue.

*He’s inconsistent, considerably less explosive than the other top DEs, and strikes me as a player who maxed out in college.

Hiram:

If I were drafting, I’d take Ansah with the pick at 6. You can put him on the line with Sheard, Taylor, and Rubin, drop back seven guys, and get more turnovers.

I am a big Werner fan; he uses his hands as well as any pass rusher I’ve seen in a long time, and plays great vs. the run. I do agree that he doesn’t fit Horton’s defense because he is strictly a DE. Also, he tends to loaf when a play doesn’t come his way.

I like Moore a bit more than you do. He kind of reminds me of Terrell Suggs in that he isn’t the most athletic guy, but he seems to know how to get to the passer. He has a variety of moves and never takes plays off. I don’t see a superstar, but I do see a 10-12 sack per year guy, making him the safe pick.

I have no idea what made LSU so dumb, but they took Sam Montgomery and put him on the right side even though he should have been on the left (vice versa for Mingo). Montgomery is bigger and stronger than Mingo, but lacks Mingo’s explosiveness. By the way, Montgomery is this year’s most overrated prospect. He’s fat, and relies too heavily on overpowering OTs, which won’t work in the NFL. The guy has bust written all over him!

Matt:

My advice to Werner would be to hire someone off of Craigslist to rummage through NFL team facilities and delete footage from the Orange Bowl. That performance left a sour taste in everybody’s mouth.

If you were Mike Lombardi (for the record, sometimes I actually wish you were) (but most times I don’t), who would you target in the middle rounds? Personally, I’d love to get Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo in the third, drug tests be damned.

Also, I know you bleed Weeden ginger, but would you consider drafting a QB anywhere? I’m intrigued by Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, though he’s not worth it unless he falls to the sixth round. Better to wait for next year and grab Teddy Bridge Over Troubled Water or Johnny Football!

Finally, any other draft- or biscuit-related thoughts you need to get off your chest for the Frowns community?

Hiram:

LOL re Werner’s Orange Bowl showing. I do agree that he didn’t have a strong game, but he was a very steady performer throughout the season, so he was entitled to have a bad game. It was just at a bad time.

I am a big Bacarri Rambo fan and think he would be a fabulous choice later in the third round. For the sake of variety, I’ll give you another safety prospect that should be available in rounds 4-6: DJ Swearinger from South Carolina. Every time I see this guy he’s making plays. He can be inconsistent in taking routes, but he’s an excellent tackler, makes big plays, and is versatile enough to play both safety positions.

I wouldn’t take a QB for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, I’m a big Weeden fan and think he needs to be given time to adjust to the NFL. He had a typical rookie QB season; don’t buy the garbage that Shurmur’s scheme didn’t fit his strengths!

Also, I don’t think the Browns can afford to take a player who will likely be riding the bench for another year or two and forgo a player that can contribute immediately. It’s not healthy for the team because of the prospect of Weeden looking over his shoulder, which would divide the team and cause unnecessary controversy.

Last but not least, I think this regime doesn’t like Weeden because they didn’t draft him and are looking for any excuse to replace him, just as they replaced numerous team executives. Their next target is Weeden. This shows a lack of maturity of the behalf of this front office. Can you honestly say you feel more comfortable with Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi than with Tom Heckert?

I’m going to sit back and watch what they do in the draft. I expect them to nail the No. 6 pick, but I predict that this regime will come up short in the middle to late rounds, where Heckert excelled. The background/competence of the current administration just doesn’t lead me to believe that they will draft well.

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NEXT WEEK: We tackle the enigma that is Ray-Ray Armstrong and review the combine.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    Good stuff, though I’m still foggy on the Barkevious left/right thing.

    Hiram: What is it about his “skill set” that tells you that he should have played on the right side, and what makes you think he’d have looked significantly better if he had?

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    Hiram Boyd: The Hero We Deserve.

    perfect.

  • CleveLandThatILove

    Awesome.

  • chad_stetter

    Great job fellas!

  • http://twitter.com/DaveKolonich Dave Kolonich

    Hiram is the “Batman of Cleveland.” Love this.

    • http://twitter.com/DaveKolonich Dave Kolonich

      Damn it, Kanicki.

  • nj0

    Am I the only one completely disinterested in the draft?

    • bupalos

      I think so. I guess there’s no reason to be all that interested, because it’s pretty abundantly clear by need and availability what we’re getting, that being a pass rusher that can help the 3-4 work. I don’t think there’s a lot of mystery.

      • nj0

        It isn’t even that. I just see like 98% of draft talk as worthless. It’s just such a colossal waste of time. More so than other colossal wastes of time. I just don’t get the attraction.

        • bupalos

          The attraction is that it’s like a candy store where everything is free. I agree that the talk gets a little stupid, I just like looking at the prospects. Without youtube, it would indeed be worthless.

          • nj0

            Meh. Baseball in like an hour.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      I might otherwise say yes but Borcas and Hiram are starting to get me primed for complete outrage if we don’t end up with Ziggy.

      • nj0

        I think it’s just shell shock. I put in a lot of time researching and reading about a lot of Browns drafts. Hard to get excited. Hard to believe any analysis/praise when most of the past analysis/praise was rubbish.

        That said, if it gives you an excuse for outrage, go with it.

        • MichaelTheRed

          gonna have to 2nd this. We’re talking about getting outraged if we don’t use the #6 on a project from the coors light rocky mountain high division who had a grand total of 4.5 sacks when you’ve got guys from the SEC on the board with more than double that. Werner got 4 of his 11.5 sacks on opening day against, I dunno i forget who they were but it was basically a MAC school. Moore also had 11.5 sacks but his were all straight up against power house schools. And this is just Werner and Moore, i haven’t even looked up Mingo or Jordan or Jones. Ansah has to vault the field goal posts and then bench 225 60 times for me to think this is a serious contender for the 6th pick. I can see a 4-3 team like the Lions or Raiders taking a swing with him, I mean why not he’s gonna play with Fairley and Suh. But where on earth is a 3-4 team gonna put him? OLB? The guy has pointed stamina issues…probably cause he roided up to get to 270, he’s not a naturally big guy. He tried to play basketball at BYU and didn’t make it. He has a ntatural lanky basketball physique. And if he’s got severe stamina problems like the scouting report on him says he does….htf is he gonna play OLB in a 3-4? And he’s too small to play 3-4 DE plus we’re covered at that position. Where would we put him? I just don’t get it. Moore or Jordan are the best outright fits for us.Werner is an utter stud, I think he’s got the potential to be the next Vrabel. I just think there’s too many better options than a kid with mediocre stats playing at a mediocre school in a mediocre division. Freak athletic potential or not, you have to be durable to play in the NFL and imo only the kids that played against elite college competition and proved they could jump in the fire and hang…..have earned 1st round looks.

      • bupalos

        After watching what’s there on him, I feel there’s a decent chance he’ll go before we even pick–specifically I’d worry about the Lions at 5.

        The mocks are just way off on this guy because he started so late and so little. I have a hard time believing many teams watching his film will put him worse than #4 pass rusher and his run support and tackling are incredible, and obviously mostly instinctive. Compare the tackling off blocks between this guy and barky and then contemplate that he started 1 year of football.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          TRADE UP.

        • MichaelTheRed

          Your talking about Ziggy right? Can you compare his highlights to Mingo’s? I’m not a Mingo fan but I’ll give him credit that he’s playing SEC football so the guys he’s going up against vs what Ziggy had to….I mean it’s not even close.

    • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

      i’m not disinterested in the draft; but not as fired up as last year with two first rounders and a high second.

      i think free agency is where it’s at for the browns this year. they have a lot more opportunities to do good for themselves there.

    • acto

      nj0,

      I love you and it saddens me that you do not get excited about the Browns’ SuperBowl in April.

      After this draft the Browns shall be a force to be reckoned with!

      On another note, why is disqus dissing’ me?

  • bupalos

    I won’t be screaming bloody murder if it’s barky, but I still feel he plays smaller and weaker than his numbers, and I’m afraid the NFL might eat him. He great with a little space, but every blocker that can get ahold of him beats him up. I don’t know that this has anything to do with which side of the line he’s on. Without a number I think a neutral observer would ask why LSU blitzes that big safety every play.

    • acto

      bupa, who brought up ziggy back in november?

  • brogatay

    These weekly draft posts make me want to do the Cardinal Rumble.

  • DDieken

    I’ve said in other comments that if, as rumored, the Steelers and/or Ravens are looking at Ansah then the Browns should jump and take him before they do.

  • MichaelTheRed

    I have a couple issues here…
    1) You have to throw the Orange bowl out with Werner cause he came in the 2nd half with one of his legs taped up the back, looked like achilles. That’s why he never changed direction and they had him standing up almost the entire game. He literally rushed the passer in that game 5 times maybe less. All he basically was assigned to do that game was hold up at the point of attack and let the LB’ers get to the carrier.

    2) What exactly are we projecting Ansah to play for us? DE? in a 3-4? first we don’t really need that. Second, can he even play that? Can he hold the gaps he’s gonna be required to in a 3-4 NFL scheme? Or are we projecting him as our hybrid OLB? If so can he even play that too? Can he cover in space?

    3) Why is Moore “loathed”? Him and Werner are projected as pretty much the top 2 DE’s in the draft, he might be the top. I’d rather take him over a guy like Jones who might be out of football the first time he collides with an NFL fullback.

    I really need someone to break Ziggy down for me on why we should use the 6 on him? He played for BYU in the Rocky Mountain division. No disrespect but you can’t compare them to the Big 10 let alone the SEC. We’ve got a bunch of guys that “proved” themselves in the SEC. I personally like Werner cause he’s shown he can play standup at the line, shown he can rush the passer like an animal….and is brutal at the point. Moore and Jordan are the next two guys on the board, for me at least. I’ve read there’s questions over how much Ziggy even really likes the game of football. Sure he’ll play for millions of dollars but is he gonna want to play when the shit gets tough? Is he gonna burn to get out there even when he’s hurt? Is he gonna put the time in the offseason to keep getting better like the greats do? I dunno.

    He smells like the next Suh to me. Guys that were so physically superior in college and then when they found out that they were closer to the norm in the NFL and that this shit ain’t easy….kind of faded. There was also questions about Suh over whether he really loved the game of football when he was in college.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      Here’s an article comparing Ziggy to JPP. One NFC scout said he was by far the best player on the field at the Senior Bowl. Article seems to suggest he has a lot to learn, which will make him all the more dangerous when he does.

      http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/pete-prisco/21755175/ziggy-ansah-risk-or-future-star-

      • MichaelTheRed

        But frownie…he’s a 43 DE!!! A prototype 43 end. Even if we were still doing the 43 there’s no way I’d draft this kid over Werner, I haven’t seen a DE stuff the run harder than that German boy in awhile. Ansah’s a lanky basketball kid who buiked up quick, ie roided up, who’s gonna get leveraged “HARD” in the NFL. And the only way he isn’t is if he’s edge rushing. As soon as he’s gonna have to hold up at the point, omg he’s gonna get pancaked.

        So frownie, where do you see us putting him? 34 DE? He’s gonna get murdered. The hybrid OLB? Ok, do we know if he can cover in space at all? I just don’t see where we use this kid. Freak or not.

        Edit: Oh and 4.5 sacks in the Rocky Mountain High club? what are we drooling over?

  • MichaelTheRed

    http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/browns_joe_banner_may_have_just_set_brandon_weeden_up_for_failuresaying_weedens_success_will_depend_on_how_bad_he_wants_it/12976345

    So Ok St had to dumb down their offense for Weedon? Where was that bit of info last year when we were annointing Weeds as our future? Ship him to the Indians maybe he can do long releif.

  • Petefranklin

    Browns are down to 50/1 to win the superbowl at LVH which usually has the best odds. I made a bar bet that they would go over 6.5 wins. Let’s hope we get addition by subtraction(Shurmer). I still think we have a two year window before Lombardi’s crap rises to the top.Kind of like Rex Ryans Jets did well when someone else built the team for him, Browns are only 25/1 to win the AFC also,tied with the Dolphins and Jets with 5 teams with worse odds, Titans, Bills , Jags, Raiders, and Chiefs.

  • acto

    Just heard a rumor that the Browns want Pacman Jones.
    Not a great “Rainmaker”, but a very good player.
    What do you kids think?

    I would like to see him in the original orange if it did not take up too much cap space.

  • acto

    On another note….

    Did Willy Loman change his name?

    I like to learn about writing style and our new contributor writes with erudite style of Willy Loman.

  • axto

    Kniles Davis as an rb and slot receiver, Greg Littlle in the same but slower mold, then Montalberta Hardesty and TRich as rb’s.
    I only understand the important side of the ball.
    Will Davis be available in the late rounds; when it may be a good time to pick guys on the wrong side of the ball?

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