ESPN: Lions' signing of Trey Flowers one of biggest upgrades of NFL offseason
The Detroit Lions selected Ziggy Ansah with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and, at times, the defensive end lived up to the billing.
There were other times, however, be it injuries or inconsistencies, where Ansah did not.
Playing on a franchise tag, Ansah was limited to just four sacks in seven games (two starts) because of injuries. The Lions let him walk this offseason, replacing him with free-agent edge rusher Trey Flowers.
That move ranks No. 7 among ESPN's biggest position upgrades during the NFL offseason, which was posted Tuesday.
Ansah recorded 14.5- and 12-sack seasons, but managed just six combined in 2016 and 2018, the final season hampered by a shoulder injury.
"Ansah has registered 48 sacks in 80 career games and has at times been one of the league's top pass-rushers," Mike Clay of ESPN writes. "But health has eluded the 2013 fifth-overall pick in recent seasons, and the team reached its breaking point after he was limited to 137 snaps in seven games last season.
"With Ansah out, Detroit spent big on Flowers, to the tune of $90 million over five years. Flowers has been limited to 21 sacks in 46 career games, but ranked 10th among edge rushers with 64 QB pressures last season. This would be hard to qualify as a serious upgrade if Ansah were healthy, but availability has been a big problem, so here we are."
A fourth-round draft pick out of Arkansas in 2015, Flowers, 25, spent his first four seasons with the New England Patriots. He played the first three under current Lions coach Matt Patricia, who previously served as New England's defensive coordinator.
Flowers had 7.5 sacks last season. Ansah signed with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Oakland Raiders' trade for former Central Michigan star receiver Antonio Brown to essentially replace Jordy Nelson topped ESPN's list, followed by former Michigan State star running back Le'Veon Bell signing with the New York Jets, replacing Isaiah Crowell.