The Cincinnati Bengals have had a stable, busy offseason as they look to put together a team that can redeem them from their 2-14 finish to the season last year that had them picking first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. One part of the expected turnaround could be former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Mike Daniels, who the team inked to a deal back in August, waiving rookie defensive tackle Tyler Clark.
Daniels joined the team on a one-year contract worth up to $2.7 million and will look to stake his claim in the upcoming season. So, what exactly does he bring to the table for a team that desperately needs to find improvement?
Potential for a high level of production
Over seven seasons with the Packers, Daniels accounted for 202 total tackles, 131 solo tackles, 29 sacks, five passes defensed, and one interception. One of his best seasons came in 2015, his fourth year in the league, when he registered 47 combined tackles, 25 solo tackles, four sacks, two passes defensed, and one interception.
2017 was also one of his better years when he recorded 43 total tackles, 28 solo tackles, and five sacks.
That’s a far cry from the 17 total tackles and two sacks he finished with in 2018, his last season with the Packers, as well as the nine total tackles and one sack he finished with his solo season with the Lions. An injury did play a role in that lower level of production.
So, we know that Daniels can really factor in when he’s at full capacity – he just needs to stay there.
High level of versatility
Being able to move around multiple places within a defensive line is one thing that can help a player’s case a lot, and Daniels has that. Considering some of the injuries, the Bengals have suffered on that front over recent years, having someone they could plug in where needed is a huge bonus.
In an interview with SB Nation’s Cincy Jungle, Daniels elaborated upon what he could do for the team with his level of versatility. He said that he’s “extremely flexible” and has always been that way, noting how his coaches lined him up in several places throughout his career.
“From the five (technique) to the zero, all the way to the other five, and I’m here to do whatever they ask me to do – drop into coverage, whatever,” he said. “Whatever this team (the Bengals) needs me to do, that’s what I’m here to do. I want to help this team win, I want to make everyone else around me better, and I want to be the best all-around teammate I can be, and the only way to do that is to be selfless and do what is asked of me.”
Daniels’ prospective role
If all goes the way it’s expected to, he’ll be a player who rotates behind Geno Atkins. The key for him to see time and continue to be useful is to stay healthy after his effectiveness was severely hindered in Detroit because of several foot injuries over the past two years.
His veteran presence alone helps the team, and he’s had a solid career, named to the Pro Bowl during the 2017 season. It will be interesting to see if he can match that level of play again – and if he can do it to stick around in Cincinnati for more than just a short stint.