The Kansas City Chiefs might be adding another Pro Bowl talent to their defensive line. The Green Bay Packers recently released Mike Daniels, and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that the Chiefs are on the shortlist of potential suitors. Now that he’s on the open market, let’s break down Daniels’ film and see how he could fit in Kansas City’s defense.
How Mike Daniels Fits With Kansas City Chiefs
Mike Daniels is one of the better dual-threat interior linemen in the league. From a pass-rushing standpoint, Daniels boasts an impressive ability to get to the quarterback. He’s no Aaron Donald, but he’s able to collapse the pocket and take down the quarterback on a consistent basis. In today’s pass-happy NFL, this makes him a valuable commodity on any defensive line.
— Dusty (@DustyEvely) August 28, 2017
He’s far from a one-trick pony, as Daniels also excels at sniffing out run plays and taking down the ball carrier. Daniels battled injuries in 2018, but his run prowess allowed him to record 10 tackles-for-loss in 2017. Even when he doesn’t make the tackle, he rarely loses in the trenches and eats up space so others can make plays.
While he primarily lines up inside, Daniels has the ability to play all across the defensive line. While his 6’-0”, 300-pound frame suggests he’s better suited for interior work, he’s surprisingly adept at rushing the passer and playing the run as a defensive end. He’s not the fastest player, but he uses his size to overpower tackles and make plays in the backfield.
Can move him outside and have him push the pocket as well. Gets low off the ball, strikes with inside hands, gets upward momentum and drives the tackle into the QB. pic.twitter.com/A0UCHSTifV
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) July 25, 2019
How Daniels Fits the Depth Chart
Mike Daniels is the perfect fit for Kansas City’s defense. Patrick Mahomes is still on his rookie contract and will make ALL the money once he’s eligible for an extension. The Chiefs need to do everything they can to get a championship while Mahomes is still playing at a bargain rate, and Daniels should help accomplish that goal.
Daniels can help create one of the most ferocious pass rushes in the league. Kansas City’s defense was largely terrible in 2018, but the unit actually led the league in sacks. They effectively replaced Dee Ford with Frank Clark, but Daniels could be an upgrade from Justin Houston. The thought of Daniels and Chris Jones collapsing the pocket with Clark coming off the edge should give opposing quarterbacks nightmares.
Daniels will help the pass rush, but he could provide even more value as a run defender. Passing is generally more productive than running, so logic dictates defenses should focus on stopping the pass. However, Kansas City’s defense was atrocious against the run and desperately needs someone to take up space in the interior. According to Football Outsiders, Kansas City was easily the worst in the league against the run last year with a 9.8% rush defense DVOA. The next-closest team was the Atlanta Falcons at 3.0%. That 6.8% gap between 32nd and 31st is the same as the gap between 31st and the 21st-ranked New York Jets.
Signing Daniels should help plug one of the biggest remaining holes on the roster. The Chiefs addressed the safety position with Juan Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu, and Daniels can solidify the defensive line. Cornerback is still a major issue, but the rest of the defense is vastly improved from a season ago. Adding Daniels might the final piece to Kansas City finally completing their Super Bowl puzzle.