James Daniels, a 20-year old center, is Iowa’s newest NFL offensive lineman after being selected by the Chicago Bears with the 39th pick in the draft.
An exceptional talent for the Hawkeyes, the junior decided to forgo his final year of eligibility. Invited to the combine, Daniels was impressive, winning (among linemen) the on the 20-yard shuttle in 4.4 seconds, second among linemen in the 3-cone drill (7.29 seconds) and tied tied for sixth in the vertical jump with a mark of 30.5 inches.
Fantastic movement by James Daniels. This is textbook fundamentals. pic.twitter.com/0ntMz3zEyO— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) March 2, 2018
He impressed the NFL and was ranked among the top centers heading into the draft. His youth, experience and upside are all big reasons why he attracted the attention of NFL scouts. Daniel’s official profile on NFL has him ranked 6.03, which projects him as an instant starter.
A four-star recruit coming in, Daniels did not redshirt his freshman season and immediately saw playing time. By the time he was a sophomore he had slipped in as a starter and was perhaps the most consistent player on the Hawkeyes offensive line over the past two seasons.
This LB wanted NO part of Iowa C James Daniels pic.twitter.com/94um1nZFBG— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) April 4, 2018
Daniels, who hails from Warren, Ohio, is the son of former Ohio State and NFL guard LeShun Daniels Sr. He enrolled in Iowa early and was a biology major before leaving school for the NFL.
I absolutely love this anecdote from Land Of 10 about figuring out he could be a Division I prospect.
“Every year, we opened up with Austintown-Fitch. Billy Price was their starting nose tackle and my sophomore year was the first time I played center in a game,” Daniels recalled. “Price was committed to Ohio State. He was the top defensive lineman in the state. That first game, you can check my highlight tape. I pancaked him twice. He’s a really good friend to me, I always wish him good luck. He was the first person who showed me I was good enough to play Division I football. He was an Ohio State commit; I was a sophomore with no offers. Being able to block the best defensive linemen in the state for a couple of plays, that opened my eyes that I was capable of playing Division I football.”
Daniels will certainly be missed at Iowa. He’s a great person, comes from a great family and was absolutely everything you can ask any college athlete to be. Good luck in the NFL, James.
I guess the Bears decided they want to try being good, all of sudden.