For a BYU football program that hadn't had a player taken in the NFL draft since 2010, having defensive lineman Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah selected at No. 5 overall by the Detroit Lions was a welcome development.

But Cougar supporters can't be too happy that he turned out to be the only ex-BYU player selected.

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr., however, already thinks that number is certain to at least double in 2014 when senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy and senior wide receiver Cody Hoffman get their shot.

"Right now I have Cody Hoffman as the No. 2 senior receiver available," Kiper said in a post-draft conference call Monday afternoon. "I have Kyle Van Noy as the No. 3 outside linebacker available."

Kiper pointed out that those rankings are only looking at the seniors and the two Cougar stars will probably drop slightly when he starts factoring in juniors who could decide to leave early.

"Right now, when you factor in some of the juniors, it will push Hoffman down a bit from maybe No. 2 to probably No. 5 or No. 6," Kiper said. "Van Noy at outside linebacker will probably get pushed down a little bit — not a lot. Instead of No. 3, he'll probably be No. 4 or No. 5. They are going to be right there in the mix as early round guys that are going to be high-profile entities from the senior class."

In his opinion, there isn't a stigma against BYU players due to age or preparation level. He said it all comes down to talent.

"If you have the ability, you are going to go," Kiper said. "That's the bottom line. That's why Ansah went because he has big-time potential. To see him go where he did, it's No. 1 on my list in my 35 years of doing this. Never before have I seen an undrafted player off the radar go that high. It's amazing."

Kiper also answered questions from Detroit media about the top Lion draft pick and said he wants to see how quickly Ansah picks up on things in the NFL.

"In terms of Ziggy, fair expectations would be for him to be a force off the edge," the draft expert said. "He doesn't have to have 10 sacks but make progress. He needs to come in, start early on this year, at least hold his own, and then develop as the season goes along. I don't expect him to take the NFL by storm, but he needs to show progress for someone with such a limited football background."

He added that in his opinion the growth of the big athlete from Ghana might be the most significant indicator of success for Detroit this fall.

"Is this draft going to propel them back into the playoffs?" Kiper said. "It depends on how quickly Ziggy Ansah develops into a premier pass rusher. That's the bottom line here. A lot is going to be expected for his limited experience. How quickly does he evolve? The Lions hit their three big need areas and I think they did the best they could do with what they had."

Kiper also mentioned former Timpanogos and Pleasant Grove star Joe Kruger, who was selected in the seventh round by the Philadelphia Eagles. The draft expert said that in his mind, the Eagles got a "steal" by getting that talent late in the draft and added that he loved the draft for Philadelphia's first-year head coach Chip Kelly.

Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. He can also be followed on Twitter at @JaredrLloyd.

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-- Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd is also the beat writer for the BYU football team, the columnist for the Cougar men’s basketball team and covers a variety of Utah Valley high school athletics. He can be followed on Twitter at @JaredrLloyd.
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Jared is the Sports Editor and BYU football reporter for the Daily Herald.