Originally written on Packer Update  |  Last updated 11/19/14

GREEN BAY, WI - JULY 28: General Manager Ted Thompson of the Green Bay Packers watches as his team works out during summer training camp on July 28, 2008 at the Hutson Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Small defensive lineman has big potential as a pass rusher

Watch Mike Daniels play against Oklahoma in last December’s Insight Bowl and you’ll immediately know why GM Ted Thompson spent a fourth-round pick on a defensive lineman who will probably never see more than 30 snaps in a game. The former Iowa star won’t be a starter because he’s too short (6’0″) to play end in a 3-4 and too light (290) to play nose tackle. What he will be, however, is a disruptive pass rusher. And that’s why he could be to the Packers what Steve Kerr was to the Bulls in the 1980s – a specialist who helped turn an already great team into a dynasty.

I became enamored with Daniels while watching him dominate the Sooners. He was far and away the best defensive player on the field that night, but I never considered him as a possibility for the Packers because of his size. That was my mistake – and it’s why I’m not a GM. Thompson always talks about drafting good players regardless of where they project in the National Football League. By selecting Daniels, he put his money (or in this case, the team’s money), where his mouth is.

Daniels ran an eye-opening 4.86 at the NFL Combine in February, but he’s not just extremely fast for a player his size. He also has a lightning quick first step and natural explosion. That, along with a non-stop motor, is what should make him an effective pass rusher at the next level. One scout compared him to Drake Nevis, who was drafted out of LSU in the third round by the Indianapolis Colts a year ago. I can see the similarities. Both players were very productive at big-time colleges, both players are very quick and both players were devalued by scouts because of their size. However, I see Daniels as a better overall prospect. He’s slightly more athletic and he’s more explosive.

So why was such a talented prospect still available at the end of the fourth round? There are two main reasons. The first is his lack of size and strength. He’s simply not big or strong enough to start in a 3-4, and over half the teams in the league are currently using that scheme. This obviously didn’t dissuade Thompson, but most general managers wouldn’t be willing to use a pick that high on a part-time player. And as any regular person knows, the smaller the group of prospective employers, the smaller the chance of getting a job. The other reason is his history of injuries. Daniels suffered a number of concussions while at Iowa and he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum after the Insight Bowl.

With Daniels, second-round pick Jerel Worthy, free agent Anthony Hargrove and holdover B.J. Raji, the defense should be able to generate consistent pressure up the middle in 2012. That didn’t happen last season when Jarius Wynn, C.J. Wilson and Mike Neal all struggled to get within five feet of the quarterback. This new foursome may not be fearsome, but it should be pretty good. And if first-round pick Nick Perry plays up to his enormous potential at outside linebacker, the days of quarterbacks sitting in the pocket all day and picking apart the secondary should be over. That’s why the only people more pumped-up about this pick than me are named Woodson, Williams and Shields.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

Manny Pacquiao responds to Floyd Mayweather diss

Australian cricket player dies from head injuries

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Josh Gordon felt alienated by some in Browns organization

Things to be thankful for in the NBA this season

Eric Berry sends out Thanksgiving message

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks about Eminem referencing her

WATCH: Dwayne Harris dirty hit on Nolan Carroll sparks fight

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks Eminem

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.