Packers 2017 Recap: DL Mike Daniels

Nobody on the Packers defense demands as much from himself as Mike Daniels. The brash, bold defensive lineman is a powerful personality who backs up his talk with wrecking ball play on the field.

Heading into his age 28 season, Daniels was accompanied by a rising star in Kenny Clark as he powered through opponents in 2017 for one of his finest seasons yet.

2017 Stats

  • Appeared in 14 games with 14 starts (629 snaps on defense, 59 snaps on special teams)
  • 5 sacks, 34 solo tackles

Expectations going into the season: High
Expectations were: Exceeded

What we said last season:

Sparring with the biggest and strongest members of the opposing offensive line, Daniels is the Packers’ best run defender and seems to overcome blockers by sheer force of will.

Daniels may also have taken Clay Matthews’ mantle as “best defensive player” this season, proving himself to be a bargain as he did it. Though Matthews takes up a much heftier portion of the cap, Daniels counted just over $7 million against the books.

Even as his number rises to more than $10 million in 2017, Daniels should still be a great value for the Packers, both for his contributions and for how he demonstrates professionalism and all-out effort to everyone on the field.

Analysis: Daniels shines in lost season

In the parade of sadness that was the 2017 season, individual performances tended to get a bit lost in the weeds. David Bakhtiari had a second All-Pro caliber season, but nobody noticed except when he was excluded from the Pro Bowl.

Likewise, Davante Adams put up great numbers but they felt empty in the Packers’ downward spiral.

Mike Daniels, though, seems to have gone unnoticed for a different reason: people take him a bit for granted.

Dating back to 2014, Mike Daniels has been the Packers’ best defensive player. His unique power and energy has given the Packers a disruptive force on their interior defensive line, and he’s consistently put up solid raw numbers.

Over that span, Daniels averaged 30 tackles, five sacks, and one fumble forced per 16 games. In 2017, Daniels matched or surpassed each of those averages, putting up (as quietly as Mike Daniels is able) another excellent season.

Maybe it’s the nature of his position. Maybe it’s that his sack totals, while good for an interior lineman, don’t always seem like they match the bluster. But make no mistake: Daniels is a force inside, and his dominance should be extended by Kenny Clark’s rise on the defensive line.