[insert JAWS theme here] (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Congratulations, professional football fans! Your favorite team has made the wonderful decision to draftLike any responsible selector, you're no doubt filled with questions about your potential new draft pick. We here at Black Heart Gold Pants will try our best to answer any questions you might have.
So, Is This Guy Any Good? No! What are you thinking, drafting him? Wait, just kidding. Daniels was a damn good player for Iowa. Calling him an "under the radar" recruit would be a gross understatement -- he was a 2* kid who was headed to Villanova before Iowa swooped in at the eleventh hour and shanghaied him away to the Big Ten. He was basically invisible for his first three years on campus, in part because he needed to bulk up to B1G size (he arrived at Iowa around 6-1, 230 and leaves here at 6-1/2, 290, officially) and in part because Iowa had guys like Adrian Clayborn, Karl Klug, Christian Ballard, and Mitch King manning the defensive line spots ahead of him. You may remember them from past NFL Drafts. Daniels broke through into the starting lineup in 2010 and made a pretty big impact: 40 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 4 sacks. There were times when he was Iowa's best defensive lineman, even though he was surrounded by Clayborn, Klug, and Ballard.
Those guys flew the coop after 2010, though, leaving Daniels to be "the man" on the Iowa defensive line. Despite being one of only two experienced options on the DL (along with fellow draft prospect Broderick Binns, whose starting job Daniels stole in 2010) and being the key guy opposing offenses tried to gameplan against, Daniels was actually better in 2011 than 2010 -- much better, in fact. The stats bear that out -- 67 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks -- even though he was battling injuries throughout the season. A fully healthy Daniels terrorized Oklahoma in the first half of the Insight Bowl against Oklahoma in December (he had a quieter second half, in part because Oklahoma started double-teaming him more). So yeah: Daniels is a good player. He also has strong off-field resume: he was a team captain and vocal leader in 2011 and there was never a hint of trouble around him.
Huh. So why's he still available this late in the draft? Um... size? Yeah, probably size. While he bulked up at Iowa, 6-1/2, 290 still isn't exactly "huge," especially in terms of the NFL. While he was an explosive first step (he was almost always the first guy off the line of scrimmage at the snap), he struggled against bigger and stronger (and just plain better) offensive linemen, although he did get markedly better on that issue from the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2011. Daniels is also somewhat limited in terms of schemes: Iowa ran an orthodox 4-3 defense and that's probably what his future NFL team needs to run as well. He probably needs a bigger defensive tackle alongside him in a 4-3 scheme to be effective. You don't want him as a defensive tackle in a 3-4 defense and he's not really quick enough to be a defensive end in either scheme.
Does he have a cool nickname? Does he ever! In fact, he has not one but two nicknames -- "Beast" and "Diesel." Iowa fans could never really decide which one they liked better; maybe you guys will have better luck on that front.
But I'm a visual learner. Okay, fine: