While Packers first-round pick Datone Jones got the hype, Johnny Jolly grabbed the headlines and B.J. Raji wondered aloud about a new contract, Mike Daniels kept plugging away.
The undersized fourth-round pick out of Iowa made the team out of training camp and has been the most disruptive Packers pass rusher on the defensive line this season.
Despite playing only 74 of a possible 198 snaps Daniels leads the defensive line in QB hurries (3) and is one of only two defensive lineman to record a sack. He also has four solo stops — the same as B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett, who have played 115 and 95 snaps, respectively.
Daniels won’t overwhelm anyone with his size and strength, but he makes up for it with explosiveness, athleticism, and a motor that runs on high all the time. He’s kind of the DuJuan Harris of the defensive line — a rolling ball of butcher knives that is all over you before you know it.
Take a look at this video of Daniels sacking Andy Dalton.
Daniels didn’t dominate the offensive lineman and make a highlight-reel sack, but he stood his ground and used his quickness and burst to disengage and make a play once Dalton tried to escape the pocket.
Do Raji, Pickett or Jolly have the athleticism to make a play like that? Maybe. But Daniels for sure has it, and he’s an excellent complement to the slower behemoths that make up the rest of the Packers defensive line.
As Jones goes through the same struggles that most rookie defensive lineman go through, Daniels has stepped up and provided the pass rush and versatility that many thought Jones would provide out of the game.
Now that Daniels has put several exceptional plays on film, we’ll see if he can keep it up as more teams become aware of his ability.
Raji, Pickett and Jolly provide a nice base along the Packers defensive line. Daniels is an excellent change of pace that can provide some much-needed pass rush up front. Will Daniels become more than just a nice change of pace? You could argue that he already has.
We’ll see if he can sustain it.
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .