Mike Daniels Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card
1) Introduction: When looking for defensive linemen for the 3-4 defense, tradition dictates you are looking for two types of players: a stout nose tackle who can command double teams with his raw power and two big and tall defensive ends who can maintain the edge for the linebackers and occasionally rush the passer. Mike Daniels is neither. Daniels was a surprise pick in the 2012 NFL draft as he essentially had no position, he was probably too short and light for a 4-3 defensive line, let alone a 3-4 defensive line which emphasizes size and strength to make up for losing a man. Where does Mike Daniels actually belong and can he contribute for the Packers despite not fitting the stereotypical 3-4 defensive linemen?
- Age: 24
- Born: 5/5/1989 in Stratford, NJ
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 300
- College: Iowa
- Rookie Year: 2012
- NFL Experience: 2
3) Expectations coming into the season: Low. Daniels had a pretty nondescript rookie season highlighted by a fumble returned for a touchdown against the Lions at home, but otherwise only played 280 snaps the entire season but did manage to record 2 sacks and 7 quarterback hurries but was only on the field in obvious passing situations as he only recorded 8 tackles. Going into 2013, it was expected that Daniels would continue to get used to the 3-4 defense, probably be used a similar capacity as he was used in his rookie season, namely in the nickel package as a down defensive tackle in obvious passing downs and perhaps become part of the rotation in the base 3-4 defense as a defensive end.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Daniel’s biggest game came against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 10, where he recorded a sack, 2 quarterback hits and a hurry against the quick paced Eagles offense. Daniel’s lowlights both involve the Minnesota Vikings and All-World running back Adrian Peterson, who embarrassed Daniels (and the rest of the defensive front 7 in all honesty), especially in week 11 when he rushed for 146 yards.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Significant. According to ProFootballFocus, Daniels was the 5th ranked 3-4 defense end in the NFL last year behind the likes of JJ Watt, Calais Campbell, Kyle Williams, Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Richardson (however this is a little bit of a misnomer since neither Watt nor Daniels did most of their damage as a 3-4 DE but rather as a 4-3 DT in the 2 down linemen nickel package). Daniels was by far the Packers most productive defensive player, recording an astonishing 8 sacks, 6 QB hits and 27 hurries. While Daniels forte is still pass rushing, Daniels held his own against the run and had the highest grade on run defense on the entire team.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Daniels played 36 snaps (about half of the defensive snaps) and was maybe the strongest performer against the 49ers in the wildcard game, getting 1 sack and 1 quarterback hurry on Colin Kaepernick. Daniels also recorded 2 tackles and generally held his own throughout the game.
Season Report Card:
(A) Level of expectations met during the season
(A) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B+) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: A——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.