Green Bay Packers Defensive End Mike Daniels is barely playing half of his team’s snaps, he plays in a 3-4 defense, and he doesn’t have the pedigree of some of the more heralded defensive linemen on his own team.
Those are three solid reasons not to roster Daniels. Here’s the one counterweight to that: he’s really, really good.
Remember that rule that said 3-4 defensive ends are much less valuable than 4-3 defensive ends? Forget it. If J.J. Watt doesn’t change your mind on that, even a 20,000 word article won’t do it.
This is not to compare Daniels to J.J. Watt. No one is going to compare the 6’0” Daniels to the presumptive defensive MVP of the NFL.
Let’s drill down on the negative side of the ledger for Daniels. He’s a fourth-round pick, and has to out-work fellow defensive linemen Datone Jones (first round of NFL draft), Mike Neal (2nd round), and Jerel Worthy (2nd round.) As I mentioned, he’s barely playing half the snaps. Here are his snap counts so far this season:
Week 1: 46/70
Week 2: 46/71
Week 3: 47/75
Week 4: 39/80
Week 5: 40/80
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If this is all you knew about Daniels, you’d already be moving on. Certainly there are better prospects than a man who is a bit player on a 3-4 defense.
Now, let’s fill in Daniels’ production:
Week 1: 5 tackles, 2 assists, 1 QB hurry, +2.8 Pro Football Focus score
Week 2: 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 2 QB hurries, +4.1 PFF score
Week 3: 2 tackles, 1 assist, 1 QB hurry, +1.3 PFF score
Week 4: (his worst week) 1 tackle, 1 assist, 1 QB hurry, -1.4 PFF score
Week 5: (his best week) 1 tackle, 1 sack, 3 QB hits, 3 QB hurries, +3.2 PFF score (note: he was credited with 1.5 sacks by scorekeepers – these are PFF stats.)
There’s a reason Green Bay Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers is getting Daniels on the field. Capers told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Daniels is “a guy who’s going to go 100 miles per hour on every play.”
There’s also a level of humility that comes with being with a late-round pick. Daniels has that, but it isn’t reflected at all in his goals for himself.
Asked by the newspaper about being involved in two sacks against the Vikings, and still having a sour, unsatisfied look on his face, Daniels provided a quote that says a lot.
“I got two – that’s cute,” he told the J-S. “But I really think I left about three out there.”
Daniels has done an incredible amount so far this season with his opportunities. That generally leads to more opportunities. If Daniels cashes in on those, he can be a DL1 in IDP fantasy football. Add him now, before Capers gives him more snaps and Daniels goes to your opponent.