Mike Daniels has been one of the Green Bay Packers bests players since being drafted by the team in 2012. However, it’s very possible the Packers wouldn’t have been able to draft Daniels had they didn’t earn compensatory draft picks that year.
Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com ranked the 10 most impactful compensatory draft picks the last 10 years and Daniels came in at No. 1. Here’s was drafted in the fourth round (Pick No. 132) of the 2012 NFL Draft and has made a name for himself ever since.
Here’s a look at Bergman talking about Daniels.
“One of the league’s best interior linemen absolutely deserves top billing on this list. Not only did Daniels earn a $41 million extension in 2015, he lived up to the investment. The Packers defensive tackle made his only Pro Bowl in 2017 and has been a consistent run-stuffer on Green Bay’s defensive line since joining the club in 2012. Playing in the same league as Aaron Donald and the same division at one time as Ndamukong Suh, Daniels rarely gets the credit that those interior linemen do, but he has done what no other compensatory pick on this arbitrary ranking has: Performed at an above-average or elite level for the same team over an extended period of time. It’s a low bar, but he cleared it.”
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Before the draft, Daniels was predicted to be drafted in the fourth round. Here’s a look at what NFL.com had to say about Daniels.
“Daniels is quick off the ball and uses his small frame to work between blockers. He has the instincts to understand schemes and work against them, and he is strong enough, despite his relative lack of size, to engage and then shed a blocker to burst to the play. He is flexible and an overall active interior player.”
Since 2013, Daniels has recorded at least four sacks in every season except for 2018 and he has notched 29 career sacks which is 20 sacks more than All-Pro defensive tackle Damon Harrison who entered the NFL the same year as Daniels. And while Daniels has not forced a ton of fumbles in his career or made too many big plays, he is always around the football as he has recorded 236 tackles since 2012.
In 10 games this past season, Daniels has posted 18 tackles, one tackle for loss, two sacks and five quarterback hits. According to Pro Football Focus, Daniels has posted 32 total pressures which ranked second on the team at the time behind Kenny Clark who had 33. He has a PFF grade of 71.2. He was not able to finish the 2018 season because of an injured foot.
Daniels was coming off a strong 2017 season, recording 49 tackles and five sacks in 14 games which led to him being named to his first Pro Bowl. So if Daniels can stay healthy in 2019, it would not be a surprise to see him have a monster year, especially with defensive lineman Kenny Clark coming off a breakout 2018 season.