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Lions sign Ansah, all picks under contract

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Defensive end Ziggy Ansah, the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft, agreed to a four-year contract worth an estimated $19 million with the Detroit Lions.

The Lions were able to sign their nine rookie draft picks to contracts before the start of a minicamp for first-year players began Friday.

Ansah, a native of Ghana and football neophyte who opened the eyes of Lions coaches and scouts at the Senior Bowl, has played football for only three seasons. But coach Jim Schwartz, Ansah's coach at the Senior Bowl, said his progress indicates he's well beyond beginner levels.

He's a rare athlete for his 6-5, 274-pound frame, running the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds. He came to BYU for other reasons but gravitated to football having known little about it -- and never so much as watched a football game -- before coming to the United States. When he failed to make the basektball team in 2008 and '09 at BYU, Ansah joined the track team briefly before joining the football squad.

He played a total of 18 career games and was a starter only in 2012, posting 4.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss.

As raw as he is, Ansah figures to be asked to play a significant role for Detroit.

The Lions released starting right defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril, the starter on the left side, signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

Eight of the Lions' nine draft picks were scheduled to participate in workouts Friday. Second-round pick Darius Slay, a cornerback from Mississippi State, is sidelined after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
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