Oct 27, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Daniels (76) celebrates his sack of the Minnesota Vikings quarterback in the second quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

What will Mike Daniels bring to the Green Bay defense?

Sure, there have been busts around the NFL, and even a few here in the domain of Ted Thompson.

One player who just didn’t seem to fit the mold for a defensive lineman – some believe he’s too small – was Mike Daniels. This lineman had known nothing but success from the ranks of grade school to college as an Iowa Hawkeye when he caught the eye of Mike McCarthy and company.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tyler Dunne had an interesting account of Daniels this week, describing the second-year player’s new-found leadership role.

Daniels is being projected as an unforseen bright spot, a newcomer who may make it to the stating lineup with the probable departure of veterans Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly, who are both unsigned at this point.

As Dunne’s account of Daniels describes, he has taken on a leadership role. His play was a bright spot on a defensive unit that struggled over the course of the last half of the season. And this year, Daniels’ number 76 seems to fit the mold of what the team likes to see in players, a good guy and a tough, relentless football player.

After two years in a backup role, he seems ready to step in as a starting lineman and team leader.

Some talent hawks have Daniels down as the next long haul, a steady voice of the line, to mix in with B.J. Raji and Datone Jones, last year’s first round draft pick. He does not like to lose – an attitude that should be welcomed on any professional football team. At 6-1, Daniels has been pegged as too small, along with the 230 pounds he carried.

That weight didn’t hold him back. He led the team in sacks with 6.5, with 31 hurries and 26 tackles. This was the reason the team is high on Daniels and the reason he is getting his shot as a starter.

Check out Mike Daniels – number 76 – you’ll find he is for real. With finesse and power, Daniels will add dimension and depth to this line.

Daniels had this to say: “We have to play harder, meaner, yes meaner – not getting pushed around. I’m tired of seeing us get our faces punched in.”

He is saying the right things. Let’s hope he can double his snaps and statistics, putting him in the top echelon of defensive linemen.

Remember number 76, Mike Daniels.

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