The Chicago Bears selected James Daniels in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s all you need to know about Daniels, including our grade.
When it comes to interior offensive linemen in this draft class, James Daniels is one of the best of the bunch. He is a tremendous athlete, possessing the kind of footwork that has enabled him to be a standout center, and guard for the Iowa Hawkeyes. He does a little bit of everything good, which is why he is one of the more versatile offensive linemen in this group.
Daniels has heavy hands, which enables him to push defenders with ease. He also is very quick after the snap, as he is able to get right into position after hiking the ball. A strong puller, Daniels is very solid protecting against the run and the pass, and he has that mean streak you look for in an offensive lineman.
The fact that he is so smooth, and so strong, should equate to him being a Pro Bowl player at the next level. Teams need versatility along the offensive line, and Daniels certainly brings that intangible with him.
Like some of the other guard prospects in this draft class, Daniels has a weakness when it comes to his height, and length. His arms are short for his position group, which can lead to him getting pushed around. Due to this, he may be best suited as strictly a center at the next level, where he has the skill set to be a dominant player.
Daniels could be limited at the next level, and some scouts feel he may only be effective in zone-blocking schemes. He also has issues once he gets to the second level, but those are things that can be taught at the NFL level. You can’t teach height, but all other weaknesses of his game are things he can improve on with more experience.
The NFL is a completely different game than college, even for players who played in a Power 5 Conference. Daniels will have his struggles, but he is going to be a solid player for many years in the league.