Former Colts president Bill Polian knows a thing or two about standout defensive ends.
He did, after all, procure Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney during his tenure there.
So while he sees potential issues with three of this year’s defensive end draft prospects – Bjoern Werner, Ziggy Ansah and Margus Hunt – he also sees what could allow them to overcome the problem.
“They all had, to some degree or another, have some instinctual problems because the game to them is not as natural as it is to some others,” Polian, now an NFL analyst with ESPN, said Tuesday during a conference call. “But they all have exceptional athletic ability and exceptional ability to turn speed into power.”
Their instinctual problems stem from the fact that all hail from outside the United States.
Werner, a 6-foot-3, 266-pound junior from Florida State, hails from Germany. Ansah (6-5, 271), is from Accra, Ghana. Hunt (6-8, 277) grew up in Narksi-Nuia, Estonia.
All three could be on the Saints’ radar. New Orleans is in need of dynamic pass-rushing defensive end as it switches from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 under new coordinator Rob Ryan.
And Polian believes all three have more than ability to overcome the instincts they lack because they didn’t grow up with the game like their teammates.
“More importantly, it's about their athletic ability and their ability to have both power and speed at the same time,” he said. “That's what it takes to play and all three have it.”
The trio have first-round draft grades, with several drafts having them go anywhere from No. 2 to the end of the round.