Two sprained ankles and a torn labrum in the shoulder didn’t stop Mike Daniels from starting every game his senior season with the Iowa Hawkeyes. The injuries didn’t slow Daniels down enough to keep him from being drafted, either.
Daniels ignored people who told him he was too short to play defensive line and earned a scholarship to play football at the University of Iowa. The New Jersey native was redshirted during his freshman year, but due to his ability to accept coaching and tireless work ethic, Mike started his last two years, was named team captain and finished third in the Big Ten in sacks his senior year. Mike became so successful at Iowa that he was gifted not one, but two nicknames, “The Beast” and “Diesel.”
Shoulder surgery in late January to repair the torn labrum forced his absence from the drills at the NFL combine. Still, Daniels was able to meet with the Packers in Indianapolis and obviously impressed. Coach Dom Capers doesn’t seem concerned with Mike’s physique and feels he will be successful despite being shorter, weighing less and having smaller hands than the linemen he will be up against in the NFL.
Coming off a self-proclaimed “mediocre” senior year leaves only room for improvement and growth. Mike prides himself on being a quick learner, hard worker and smart player; skills that help him compensate for his size (or lack thereof). Don’t be surprised if Mike “Diesel/The Beast” Daniels will soon be able to add “Cheesehead” to his growing list of nicknames.