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Top Candidates to Replace Mike Daniels

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Top Candidates to Replace Mike Daniels

Barring some sort of unforeseen miracle, 2019 is shaping out to be Mike Daniels final season as a Packer. The undersized defensive tackle has come a long way since his fourth-round selection propelling to the top echelon of interior linemen in the NFL. Sadly, Daniels will turn 31 prior to the 2020 season and the likelihood of a third contract in Green Bay is pretty barren. Daniels has been the pulse of the Packers defense for some time now but prepare yourself now for the upcoming season to be his farewell tour in Green Bay. With Kenny Clark emerging into the star he is, it will be hard to justify paying Daniels given his age and past injuries. 

The Packers have been quietly preparing for this predicament in sight of losing their Pro-Bowl defensive tackle. Over the few couple years, they’ve either been drafting prospects or signing undrafted free agents to see if they pan out into serviceable players. Unless Daniels decides to sign a very team-friendly contract a player already on the roster could be his eventual replacement.

Montravius Adams

Adams was a third-round pick during the 2017 draft by former Packers GM Ted Thompson. Thompson was famous for drafting players ahead of time to step in for guys the team may not resign. Adams flopped his rookie season after missing practically all of training camp due to surgery on his foot. He appeared in seven games in 2017, however, productive reps were few and far between. Last season he showed a little more promise as he saw an influx in snaps down the stretch. Adams went on to finish with four quarterback hurries over the final seven games of 2019.  

Kingsley Keke

Keke fell right into the lap of Green Bay during the fifth round of this year’s draft. It was a pick with tremendous value as a lot of draft boards projected him as a third-round pick. At Texas A&M he played somewhat out of position as he frequently lined up on the edge. Keke will likely move inside where he can utilize his agility and gap control as a three-tech defensive tackle. He definitely has the chance to earn a good amount of reps as a rotational player. Keke could wind up being a future starter in the league so don’t be surprised if he ends up stepping in for Daniels alongside Clark on the interior. 

Tyler Lancaster

Northwestern’s UDFA was one of the more surprising players for the Packers in 2018. Lancaster played in 12 games as a rookie and eventually started in five once injuries sidelined Clark and Daniels. During that time, he emerged as a promising run defender finishing with 22 tackles over the final five games. Overall, Lancaster is a savvy player that can quickly diagnose plays and use good play strength to stack and shed blockers. He may never be an elite starter, however,  he would never have to with a healthy Clark beside him. So far, Lancaster is trending in the right direction and is an under the radar player to make a significant impact next season. Green Bay should continue to feed him a healthy snap count as long he continues to make the most of them. 

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (58) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bert's picture

Maybe. But I'm not gonna get my hopes up until any of these guys actually shows that they can perform at Daniels' level.

TheVOR's picture

I think your dead nuts on this. Adams, we're still waiting, Kele I can't wait to see if he can actually play, a lot of build up on that young player. Lancaster? WTH? If someone doesn't emerge it could be a draft pick from next years draft. None of those names strike fear the moment, other than a fear that we won't be able to replace Daniels with any of them.

One more thing though, Daniels has started showing injury frequency the last 2 seasons, so, it being an option year for him, we should see a decent season out of him, assuming he stays healthy. Its his contract year, and it's going to be all about UFA for him, I don't expect him back..

stockholder's picture

Don't shoot the messenger. But nobody on this team can replace Daniels. He weighs 310 pounds. The packers didn't draft anybody that is big enough. Look for an over payment with no reimbursement. He's always been as good as he wanted to be. The mule of the line. There is No Back-up. Plain and Simple the packers will have a hole if he leaves.

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

Montravius Adams will be lucky to earn a roster spot this season, let alone replace Daniels in a year.

Coldworld's picture

We will see. Going to have to show, but he did well at the end of last season.

IceBowl's picture

Irish_Cheesehead, says,

Montravius Adams will be lucky to earn a roster spot this season...

You do not know this, nor do I.

But I have seen many players get the light turned on after 1 or 2 seasons. If, they want to play, last year really doesn't mean anything.

jannes bjornson's picture

Montravious will contribute and get some key sacks.

zeroluv's picture

Agreed, I think they should look to trade him while he has some value. Keke I feel is the heir to Daniels and Adams still have value while in his rookie contract.

Qoojo's picture

Total Monty Python flashback. Daniels, "but I am not gone yet..."

lol at any of those 3 replacing Daniels. Right now at best those 3 guys might give him a breather for a series of downs. They aren't even worth mentioning as journeyman replacement. Long way to go for all 3.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

high hopes

Handsback's picture

In a practical sense Mt. Adams was in his first year as a pro last season. I think this year you will be able to tell if he will make that leap or not with another solid off-season and a year away from his foot injury. Lancaster will/should make the roster if healthy because of his ability to stop the run. Keke will take a year of off-season workouts and adding good weight before he can make an impact. So if you want another DT to apply pressure and take the place of Daniels....the Pack will have to roll the dice and see which tackle can be the most effective. I don't think it will be clear this season.

jannes bjornson's picture

Probably the kid from Auburn in the 2020 draft.

PackfanNY's picture

First it was just last week that one of the writers had Montravius Adams beat out by Looney. Now you are writing he is going to replace Daniels.
Keke hasn’t had his first camp yet. The Lancaster love is based on some good games at the end of a miserable season.
We might want to pump the brakes and let guys replace guys with some proven and sustainable performance.

Coldworld's picture

Lancaster played consistently well. But he is not a candidate to replace Daniels. He is the likely back up to Clark. Big run stuffer with the ability to shed blocks.

olwig420's picture

Not sure which Daniel's everyone was watching last year but in my opinion he really wasn't all that good. If he doesn't get back to the Daniel's of old I would think that all three of these guys would have a chance to replace him.

Coldworld's picture

He will be 31 next year. At his size age will likely diminish him in the next few years. Ability is not a constant. He isn’t going anywhere this year, but the team have clearly begun accumulating players with the potential to succeed him, as the team should.

Rak47's picture

You are definitely right on Brandon. Someone will replace Daniels next year. And it could easily be one of those three. You know how it is, if your not an all pro your rookie year the peanut gallery doesn't like you and wants you replaced because you suck, lol. Remember Devante Adams, Mike Daniels, and a host of other Packers that took time to develop that the peanut gallery swore sucked and would have cut in training camp were they the GM and not the peanut gallery....

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Adam's sucks ducks

IceBowl's picture

Doug, what are you sayin"?

You want to line up at DT?

Nick Perry's picture

LOL...I'd like to see Doug or anyone of us who is critical of players at times (myself included) line up across from Adams. I'll bet he could line up across from us 100 times and break our ankles with that release ALL 100.

MarkinMadison's picture

You talkin Devante or Montraveous? Personally, I wouldn't want to have to line up against either at either position. My day is long gone and was never that sunny anyway.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

M. Adam's sucks. Sure I will line up against the wuss.

IceBowl's picture

Doug,

Can't wait to see your you tube video. Must watch TV.

kevgk's picture

I think they singed ZSmith and drafted Gary to be Daniels replacement. Don't see a need beyond them to do the versatile fronts they want to do.

Coldworld's picture

Not the same. Daniels is undersized for his position, but both of them are smaller. Gary considerably so.

zeroluv's picture

Cold world,

Gary can be 300lbs is a heartbeat with his body type. He could be Daniels replacement sooner than later. Gary excels at stopping the runs and bull rushing too.

jannes bjornson's picture

Gary is an Edge to five tech. If he wanted to eat himself into the scrum spot he would have done it in college. Maybe some of these fans need to go fishing until next Sept.

GLM's picture

I'm not sure Gary bulks up to 300 pounds. Maybe, but he seems more likely to be a great player off the edge with his speed.

Keke will be Iron Mike's replacement if Daniels moves on after this year.

Lare's picture

Tough to predict next years's lineup until we see what kind of defense Pettine will be running with all the new additions.

Daniels was a staple of the Capers defense and played well, but not so much last year in Pettine's scheme. This will all play out in training camp and over the season.

IceBowl's picture

I would have no problem having M Daniels, replace M. Daniels.

Of course all the aforementioned points/conditions are valid. And surely Guty will not allow a drop in talent level vs price tag. Trust Guty until he makes a mistake (aww, never happen)

He has been a good player for us. Maybe not all pro all the time, but certainly not a determent. Many teams have to settle for a determent. (Mo Wilkerson )

nostradanus's picture

They be alright, that’s next year.
Let’s enjoy this one my Packer Brethren.
Go Pack !

Doug Niemczynski's picture

uh...no one. 2020 Draft Pick.

Coldworld's picture

Can we release Doug?

stockholder's picture

Doug you hit the nail on the head! No one! Your 2020 pick?

Doug Niemczynski's picture

I thought it was going to be C . Wilkins but I think he went to Miami Dolphins?

porupack's picture

Why are we talking about replacing Daniels already? There are certainly reasons to plan on replacing someone;
1) Performance is declining, and its anomalously inconsistent trend with other defensive players (not attributed to a whole defense unit decline such as scheme.
2) Salary cap/cost compared to better cost-impact value signing a replacement.
3) better talent under a player needs playing time to go next level.
4) Other intangibles, attitude or distraction.

The article doesn't say really why he should be replaced, except hint at age. But if Daniels has still been above average even in 2018, what if he has upsurge performance in 2019? The way you have high performing employees is to ensure they are rewarded. The way to reward high performance veterans is, well, to reward them.

If people complain about having a bunch of JAGs, then why would we get rid of a good player prematurely? Scheme him, and hope he plays well, and if he does, find a way to extend him.
Let all players in GB know that if you play well, you get rewarded.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

1. Age.
2. Arguably declining production.
2018: 18 tackles, 1 TFL, 5 QB hits 419 snaps
2017: 49 tackles, 10 TFL, 14 QB hits 630 snaps.

That's a massive decline in terms of pure stats even comparing on a per snap basis. Worse, he had 10 solo tackles with 8 assists. In 2017, he had 34 solo and 15 assists. I grant that film gurus liked what they saw in 2018, noting at one point that he had the highest win percentage among DTs at one point last season. PFF graded him as above average and gave him a grade almost has high as Lowry's.

Maybe Pettine schemed Daniels into decline?

4thand10's picture

This is why I was almost positive they were going to grab Christian Wilkins, But they shocked me and didn’t.. I’m grossly aware Gary “ has the ability “ to move inside, but that’s not Ideal. Maybe for odd packages..but as an every down interior DL...not so sure about that. Kinda like when GB put all LBs on the LOS some of Capers packages and still didn’t get enough pressure. Someone would be able to cherry pick a play here and there where it worked, but I don’t think that style is one you can hang your hat on.

But it is what it is, they doubled down on bringing pressure from the outside , which we sorely needed. ( by signing the Smiths and drafting Gary). IMO they upgraded the outside rush and are most likely looking at interior DL after this season. Daniels maybe 31, but he still commands a double team. Clark is young and good. M. Adams might be full speed and a light comes on... who knows . It’ll be interesting to se this Pettine defense in its second year.

stockholder's picture

It is what it is. (Keep on hoping!) Daniels is never mentioned as a MVP. Why did ESPN radio like Ke Ke, more then the Gary pick? Their both about 280. So don't expect them to slide inside. If they want more outside rush. Doesn't the 4-3-4 make more sense.? What happens If Clark doesn't sign? Who plays DT? The game is won in the trenches. Not on the movie screen. Pettine's legion of Super heroes, are still missing Captain America.

porupack's picture

Thx TGR. That then is understandable. I guess another body of stats over 2019 then would make it more apparent whether it was scheme, team or individual trend downward. So I certainly agree that GB should always plan transition scenarios, and if Daniel's 2018 trend continues, sure have your ready replacement. But if he has a rebound, then I suppose this Daniels subject would get even more heated; and my belief is that GB at times created their own crisis, with too many holes to develop by letting players walk prematurely, and then have to allocate draft capital rather than plug other chronic holes. The bad thing about this "better year too early than a year too late" debate is, that the "too late" just costs some $, but "too early" can leave holes and then absorb a lot of draft capital.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Well said, Porupack. Our own Andy Herman posted plenty of film showing Daniels and Clark taking on double teams and being stout at the LOS.

I was all-in on Brian Burns, so obviously I thought we should not use top draft picks to replace Daniels. No harm in trying to keep talent in the pipeline, and I loved the Keke pick.

Even as cap-obsessed as I am, I agree with that "better to let a player walk a year two early than a year too late" is too easy. Definitely don't think it is true if the team lets a good to very player walk TWO years too early.

Wish GB would stop using signing bonus as the sole portion of guaranteed money for that very reason. Sigh.

MarkinMadison's picture

Are comments disappearing today?

4thand1's picture

Replace Daniels when we have to. Right now we have d-linemen to rotate so he can stay healthy and productive. Worry about it next year.

Nononsense's picture

Well it's a good thing they have a whole year to evaluate his possible replacements should he leave next year. If no one steps up and earns the job maybe he sticks around. All I know is it's good that they have options finally, in the event of injury or replacement.

sonomaca's picture

I’m predicting Daniels is traded, and plays elsewhere in 2019. Really not needed anymore.

Madfan's picture

What is the direction Pettine is heading? If he is heading toward more versatile, interchangeable players, Daniels' replacement may not be the same weight.

Of course there will be a rotation and Daniels may end up being replaced by more than one player.

2019 should be a good opportunity to evaluate all three players mentioned.

My guess is that Gary will eventually play the three technique, but in a different manner.

jannes bjornson's picture

Gary is not a DT. He can go five tech, six or Edge where he was drafted. Why would you waste his speed to butt heads with guards. If anything he may be asked to lose weight.

MarkinMadison's picture

I don't know. The way he moves, the angles he likes to take, he might be better suited as an inside than an outside rusher. He's more of a knife than a bender. Dude is 6'4" and 21 years old. It is not hard envisioning him going from 277 lbs. to a solid 302 lbs. in a few years. In his late 20s if he loses a step and gains some quality muscle he'd be extremely valuable on the line.

sonomaca's picture

I’m guessing that’s the plan. Only question is why Pack are calling him a LB. He’s really never going to be good at that.

MarkinMadison's picture

My gut is that the label doesn't mean much. If my gut is wrong, he does have enough speed to do it, it appears that Pettine likes bigger OLBs, and with his shoulder questionable it may make some sense to try him as a rotational outside rusher where he can utilize his speed more and his muscle less. But that's a layman's take.

jannes bjornson's picture

That is delusional.

4thand10's picture

According to Pettine interview...he does like bigger, almost like defensive end type bigger. Cappers attempted to do this with Peppers... cause I would call peppers more of a 4-3 style defensive end than a 3-4 OLB. And it worked a little bit. That 2015 year where Clay was in a Sam LB middle role and I think mike Neal was in at OLB the defense got a little better. I’m a fan of going bigger with speed . That interview from Pettine on Packers.com was super informative. I’m really liking that dude as a DC right now . And I like the coaches that we have , only uncertainty is LaFluer, but I really hope he works out. Very excited to watch football this year, a little more amped up than in years past.

Since '61's picture

The issue with Daniels is that he will be playing for his final contract during the 2019 season, whether that is with the Packers or elsewhere in 2020. So the question is, if he has a great season should the Packers consider resigning him?

Obviously if his performance declines and he is healthy the Packers should move on. But let’s get through 2019 before we consider the 2020 roster.
Thanks, Since ‘61

MarkinMadison's picture

The Packers have to be looking to pay Kenny Clark this year. Martinez and Fackrell may be worthy of new deals as well, and their contracts are up after this season. Then in the 2021 free agent class (in addition to Clark) you have Bakh (3rd contract, but who are we kidding?), Linsley (possibly expendable now), King (if he can stay on the field), and a host of others who MIGHT prove worth of a second contract. I don't see that Packers giving Daniels serious money, even if he does deserve it.

Since '61's picture

Deleted

flackcatcher's picture

The real question(as Lare mentioned) is how the Packers under Pettine uses Daniels. IAM drafted Hybrid line types for Pettine's system. Which should logically make Daniels even more valuable in the defensive scheme. Looking at the body types, this is going to be a very stout D line back by smaller quicker IL or bigger DB. Or more likely some mix of the two with more Hybrid types at both positions. Or to be blunt, match up football. (That makes RB like Jones and Williams even more valuable in the new Offensive scheme, that is if they can stay healthy. And if our new HC can convince QB 1 to get the ball to them.) Just like last year, it all comes down to health for these guys. Giving up size for speed is going to be a match up hell for the Packers if any of the starting or core players in the D line misses time due to injuries, and that will expose both the Smiths and Gary to match up issues that could rip open the Packer backside. One the issues that IAM GUTE could not address either in this years draft or via free agency. Pettine is a brilliant football mind, but as we saw, without good football players, his scheme falls apart just like what happened to Dom Capers in 2017-2018. Rebuilding is tough.

Lphill's picture

I think Daniels will be gone and it will be a financial decision unless he settles for less than market value.

porupack's picture

if he goes on the market at age 32, why do you think he will command a lot? I would believe he will be more valuable to the packers at age 32 (2 year or conditional contract) than value to another team, and adjust to new scheme at age 32. Less risk for packers, more for other team. Work on an extension early in 2019 season if he has a good 7 games through October Good value (if he plays well).

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