Mike Daniels Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

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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?

2) Profile:

Mike Daniels

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 5/5/1989 in Stratford, NJ
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 300
  • College: Iowa
  • Rookie Year: 2012
  • NFL Experience: 2

Career Stats and more

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


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 .


8 thoughts on “Mike Daniels Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

  1. Good on Daniels. There are numerous other guys drafted ahead of this mighty-mite who have yet to show the consistent motor and results of this 4th rounder.

  2. Daniels wasn’t drafted to be a 34 DE. In reality he wasn’t really drafted to play in a 34 D… He was drafted to be a role player as a pass rushing DT in nickel and dime defenses. And in that role he has excelled to the point he MIGHT find a way onto the field in base 34 D more. He will get plenty of snaps just playing as a DT in nickel/dime to justify paying him a good salary/contract.

    Any snaps he gets in base D is a bonus but basically unnecessary. He can be on the field as a DT (his natural position) in about 70% of downs. The question is can he maintain his level of play if he’s getting snaps in base D as a DE. And will he be effective as a base DE?

    Unless Capers decides to go w/ more traditional base 34 defense Daniels will be getting plenty of snaps just in nickel/dime packages.

  3. Whirling. Dervish.

    Now that I’ve got that out of the way..

    Most of you know I’ve been a huge fan of Daniels since he’s been drafted. So, yes, I’m biased.

    But I find it hard to believe anyone could have low expectations for Daniels coming into the season if you watched him practice and play during his rookie year. His motor was evident and off the charts and while he may not have compiled stats, he frequently caused problems for opposing linemen.

    Great to see him developing. Kid is a BEAST.

  4. Re: Straw

    Not sure if I’m interpreting this correctly, but I don’t want Green Bay to justify running more nickel because we have resources in Daniels.

    I hope we run whichever defense is most capable given the situation on the field–regardless of whether or not that includes Daniels. He’s a gamer and when he plays he makes it count, but i hope we don’t feel it’s necessary to run nickel so often (and thus maybe not field Daniels as much).

    If only our line will be that capable next year…

    1. Its: Stroh…

      And you did misinterpret it. I wasn’t suggesting what D they should play and it should be based on down and distance. I feel we already play too much nickel/dime, so IMO they need to start playing more base D particularly on 1st and 2nd downs. I’m ok w/ Daniels getting some snaps in base 34, but it remains to be seen how playing base D will affect him in nickel/dime and we don’t know how he will fair playing in base D. Either way I think he’ll get more than enough snaps, even if he isn’t the “starter”.

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