You’ve probably noticed Mike Daniels this season. After making little impact for the Green Bay Packers as a rookie fourth-round pick, Daniels has been making his presence known this year.
Daniels leads the team in sacks with four, three of which have come in the past two games. His total is also two more sacks than he had all of last season.
We’re going to draw a comparison to former Packers defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. Certainly not in size and stature, because Daniels is smaller, but in the fact that he’s turning into a really good inside pass rusher. That’s something the Packers haven’t really had since Jenkins departed as a free agent.
In fact, Daniels is one of the guys who’s keeping first-round pick Datone Jones off the field. Against Minnesota, Daniels played more snaps on the defensive line than anyone.
That’s impressive, considering the high level that both B.J. Raji and Johnny Jolly are playing at. Those guys are out there more to take up blockers and stuff the run, though. Daniels is out there to get after the quarterback.
The great thing is, Daniels isn’t satisfied, even after his two-sack performance against the Vikings.
“I got two; that’s cute,” Daniels said. “But I really think I left about three out there. I’m really continuing to work on my game to make sure that I [don’t] just become an ‘Oh, he made a play; that’s nice,’ to ‘Oh, he’s an elite player; watch out.’ I’m really just working towards trying to improve every week and every day.”
Daniels isn’t going to be a guy who piles up 15 sacks a year. Inside rushers typically don’t do that. If he gets eight to 10 sacks in a season, then he’s making a pretty good case for reaching that elite level, at least as a pass rusher.
He’s someone you have to game plan for.
The verdict remains out on the Packers last two first-round picks, Jones and Nick Perry, but at least it’s starting to look like they hit on Daniels.