Normally, I absolutely hate the NFL Top 100 list. But this year, I found it refreshing that right away, the list got something right, by naming Mike Daniels of the Green Bay Packers as the No. 95 player in the NFL.
For the past few seasons, since getting picked in the fourth round by the Packers out of Iowa in the 2012 NFL draft, Daniels has been a beast. Despite being 6-0 and around 280 pounds, the former Hawkeye has turned himself into one the league’s best interior pass rushers.
After notching two sacks during his rookie season, Daniels’ production took off in 2013, as he registered 23 tackles, 6.5 sacks and four tackles for loss. He followed that up with 5.5 sacks in 2014 and four in 2016.
Before the end of last season, the Packers thought so much of Daniels that they rewarded him with a four-year, $42 million extension, which made him one of the highest-paid 3-4 defensive ends in pro football.
Yet, for the most part, his greatness is still overlooked by most fans. Daniels was not selected to the Pro Bowl this past season, despite 49 tackles, four sacks, seven tackles for loss, one interception, one fumble recovery and three passes defensed.
To put it simply, whenever Daniels is on the field, he finds a way to impact the game. He’s tremendous at penetrating into the backfield and he has an innate ability to get guys on the ground, even with offensive lineman hanging all over him.
There is no question that he has turned out to be one of Ted Thompson’s better draft picks in Green Bay and he has brought an attitude to the defensive line and the defense as a whole that was not there before.
There may be lots of fans that still don’t know who Daniels is at this point, but he’s plenty well known in Green Bay and across the NFL as a top defensive lineman, it’s just nice to see him finally get some recognition for it.