PFF scouting report: Steven Daniels, LB, Boston College
Below is the PFF draft profile for Boston College’s Steven Daniels, which incorporates PFF’s college grades and scouting intel from our team of analysts. To see all of PFF’s 2016 scouting reports, click here.
Two-down, run-stopping inside or middle linebacker
Stats to know:
Top grade in the nation against the run (+29.2) in 2015 after ranking ninth in 2014 (+18.0).
What he does best:
• Pure thumper; destroys blocks working downhill in the running game.
• Excellent play recognition in the run game—reads pulling guards instantly and gets to the right spot.
• Didn’t test well athletically, but short area quickness on the football field looks good.
• Rarely fooled by counter-action. Even when teams try to disguise with motion and fakes, Daniels still beats blockers to the spot against counter.
• Makes up for his lack of speed by taking good angles to the ball when running sideline to sideline.
• Will never be confused with a coverage linebacker, but made a few strong plays while isolated in the flat.
• Reads and attacks the screen game well.
• Can bull-rush as a pass-rusher and also uses his hands well to shed blocks. Had some success against college offensive tackles when rushing the passer.
• Got caught on blocks on cutbacks against inside zone. If he has to “slow-play,” can get engulfed by blocks.
• Lacks the athleticism to be trusted in man-to-man coverage against running backs and tight ends.
• Many of his strengths looked like weaknesses against Syracuse. Just a bad game?
Brandon Spikes. Spikes was a throwback to old-school football, a two-down “thumper” that would destroy any blockers in his path while setting up his teammates to clean up with tackles. Spikes was also a limited athlete and rarely on the field in passing situations, and Daniels looks like a similar player from both a style and production standpoint.
Daniels is simply playing in the wrong era, as his tough, downhill style would have been coveted in the old run-heavy days of the NFL, but his style of linebacker is becoming less valuable in the spread-offense era. Still, there’s value in a strong interior presence against the run, and Daniels would fit in well with any team looking to improve their early-down run defense.