Green Bay Packers: #1 player to watch during training camp

Each year, a player will come out of nowhere during training camp and the preseason and burst onto the scene.  New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz was a no name rookie out of Mount Union.  But, after an effective training camp and preseason, Cruz became a threat for the G-men.  New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a sixth round draft pick, barely made the Patriots’ roster in 2000 after impressing head coach Bill Belichick during training camp, and the rest is history.  As the Green Bay Packers head into training camp, here is my one player to keep an eye on.

Mike Daniels was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Packers out of the University of Iowa.  In his rookie season, Daniels put up decent numbers, recording 12 tackles and two sacks.  However, in the snow against the Detroit Lions, Daniels scooped up a Matthew Stafford fumble and returned it for his first career touchdown.  Last year, Daniels appeared in all 16 games, having 23 total tackles and improving to 6.5 sacks, which was second only to Clay Matthews’ 7.5.

One thing the Packers coaching staff has wanted to improve on over the past few years is to get more of a pass rush from their defensive line.  That was the thinking behind drafting Datone Jones with their first round pick in 2013.  Jones put up some decent numbers, including 3.5 sacks.  Daniels should expect to see more playing not only because of his improving play, but also because starting defensive tackle Ryan Pickett was not resigned during the offseason.

If Jones and Daniels can continue to show improvement this year, some pressure could be lifted off of Matthews, and his number could return to form.  Back to Mike Daniels.  Unlike Pickett and B.J. Raji, Daniels has the athleticism and quickness to explode off the snap and get pressure on the quarterback.  Those are the skills that can make him a disruptive pass rusher, and could give the Packers defense an added pass rushing threat besides Matthews.  You may not have heard of Mike Daniels, but after training camp, you just might.

  • Al Dante

    How can you possibly watch one guy. There are a raft of guys who in my mind and I think the coaches too, that need to produce this year. Ya the new guys will be looked at but the two and three year wonders who have not produced will be looked at closely. I can see one or two being cut.
    You can only sit back and wait for development so long then you cut your loses or I hope that’s how the packers operate. All I know is there are more than a handful of what if’s on this team dragging it down.

  • ttj

    Maybe if they gave him more playing time to begin with then his numbers would look similar if not better than mike Daniel’s even tho jones only had 3.5 sacks look @ other rookies in the past 10 years who numbers were similar if not worst and look at them now and where they are today datone to me did good o only play 26% of the dline snaps

    • millerforrest

      Dude, Daniels was HURT most of the season, so he didn’t get the playing time we all wish he had gotten.

  • Al Dante

    Jones put up ‘decent’ numbers? Don’t know what you’ve been smoking but according to last years stats, collected by Fox Sports, by game 12 of last year Datone had 8 tackles and one sack. Game 12 my friend. That is not the play of a first rounder but maybe a 5th round fill in guy.

    • millerforrest

      Again, Jones was INJURED for a majority of the regular season. They brought up Jones numbers and compared them to Daniels numbers his 1st year. Yes, I know he compared a 4th round pick to a 1st round pick. Big deal. His point was that we hope Jones can make the same kind of numbers improvement that Daniels made from year 1 to year 2.

      • Al Dante

        Being hurt can be an excuse too. Pro bowl caliber players play with minor injuries but Jones tends to always have those minor injuries which I attribute to being out of shape, not strong enough for the pro game and just not a realiable player.
        Love to see the guy prove me wrong but I’ve been waiting a long time so far for that to happen while other teams are getting stronger.

        • millerforrest

          Tends to always have those minor injuries? This is ONLY his 2nd year!!!! How can you say “tends to always”???? One season is NOT a tendency!