Shanahan praises Ansah ahead of scheduled workout with 49ers

Javon Kinlaw

The 49ers are set to bring in former No. 5 overall draft pick Ziggy Ansah for a workout Tuesday, and that clearly excites coach Kyle Shanahan. 

"Oh, yeah. I've always been a fan of Ziggy, playing against him and stuff," Shanahan said Monday to Bay Area reporters. "He's always been a real good player. With [defensive line coach] Kris [Kocurek] having such a good relationship with him over the years, coaching him in Detroit."

Ansah, 31, played 11 games last season for the Seattle Seahawks. He finished with 2.5 sacks, eight QB hits, two forced fumbles and two passes defensed with the 49ers' biggest rivals. But it's his relationship with Kocurek that makes him even more intriguing. 

The Detroit Lions made Ansah a top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He played in Detroit through the 2018 season. For all of Ansah's tenure with the Lions, aside from his final season, Kocurek was his defensive line coach. 

Ansah made his only Pro Bowl under Kocurek in 2015 when he had 14.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, 15 tackles for loss and a wild 34 QB hits. He also recorded 12 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 17 QB hits in 14 games in 2017. 

Shanahan made it clear he and the front office always have had their eyes on Ansah and his availability. 

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"We've always kept in contact with him and I don't know what the plan is yet, but we're bringing him in tomorrow to work him out. See where he's at and we'll see how it goes, but we'll decide that tomorrow."


Ansah missed multiple games last year to a plethora of injuries. But if healthy, he could bring needed depth to the 49ers' defensive line and give this team a spark as they look to get back into the win column Sunday against the New York Jets.