By: Will Burchfield
The Lions’ newest batch of rookies will convene in Allen Park this weekend for rookie minicamp.
Ziggy Ansah isn’t jealous.
His experience at rookie minicamp in 2013 is something he’d rather forget.
“I didn’t like it,” he said on Tuesday, before flashing a grin.
Apparently, Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek worked the rookies into exhaustion.
“I’ve been with him since I’ve been in the league so I’ve grown to know him, but if you don’t know him at first you think, ‘This guy is crazy,'” Ansah said. “We’d all be working out but he’d be sweating more than (us). So you can tell the rate at which he goes.”
Ansah, drenched in sweat himself on Tuesday following a voluntary team workout, may not be envious of the Lions’ rookie class, but he likes what he sees. Detroit used six of its nine draft selections on defensive players and picked up six more via the undrafted free agent market.
“I’m excited for these rookies. I like the way the draft went. Obviously it was defensive, and defense wins championships,” Ansah said. “I’m ready for them to come in and embrace the process.”
While Ansah only underwent one rookie minicamp, fellow defensive end Kerry Hyder toiled through three before finally earning a full-time spot on an NFL roster in 2016 with the Lions. He still remembers his first, as an undrafted free agent with the Jets in 2014.
“Oh man, just not knowing what to expect. Just wanting to get around the guys and seeing guys that I grew up watching in the locker room, it was kind of surreal at that point. But I ended up doing three rookie minicamps so I kind of got used to it,” Hyder said, laughing at himself per usual.
What advice would he give to this year’s rookies?
“Just go fast, man, try to make a impression. You only get a couple days to show that you got something, so I’d say just give it your all and leave it all on the field,” said Hyder.
Despite being one of the older players in last year’s Lions rookie minicamp, Hyder, then 25, never questioned what he was doing or why he was there.
“Whenever you get the opportunity to show what you have, you take it,” he said, “because when you’re not out there somebody else is. I was happy to do it.”
The Lions would soon be happy, too.