Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson remained on the defensive by selecting Iowa defensive tackle Mike Daniels and Maine safety Jerron McMillian with fourth-round compensatory picks.
“I like coming in and seeing all of your folks,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers joked upon arriving at the podium after the Packers have gone 5-for-5 on the defensive side of the ball. “We feel very good about these last two picks.”
Daniels, at 6-foot and 291 pounds, doesn’t have the ideal size to play defensive end in the Packers’ scheme, but that’s not what he was drafted for. The Packers had the worst pass rush in the NFL last season, and Daniels can provide some juice as an interior rusher. Daniels recorded nine sacks during his senior season and 15.5 during his four seasons.
“He plays the game with quickness, intensity (and) I think he’ll bring a sense of energy with him,” Capers said. “We’ve been a big nickel team and I could see both these young guys coming in could play inside in our nickel. They give you the kind of quickness and explosiveness and some of the things we’ve needed to become a quicker, faster defense.”
Daniels’ only formal interview at the Scouting Combine was with Green Bay, and Thompson was at Iowa’s pro day on the first day of Jeff Saturday’s free-agent visit.
McMillian took a predraft visit to Green Bay, which
we reported in this interview.
McMillian was a first-team all-conference selection and a second-team FCS All-American. At his best at the line of scrimmage, he piled up an impressive 11.5 stops for losses among his 92 tackles as a senior. He intercepted one pass and broke up five others.
Even with that, McMillian didn’t think he’d be invited to the Scouting Combine. Turns out, NFL talent evaluators made the right call by letting him test with the big-school stars.
In the official Scouting Combine results provided to Packer Report, McMillian not only led the safeties with a 40-yard time of 4.47 seconds, but his 10-yard split of 1.51 also led the safety class. His vertical leap of 36.5 inches led all safeties at the Combine.
“He’s a very bright young man,” safeties coach Darren Perry said. “We had a chance to visit here last week. One of the things that stood out was his intelligence. He has a very high football IQ. Not that it’s going to be easy, but that’s one of the things that we put up high is his intelligence.”
“He’s an excellent tackler,” Perry continued. “You guys know what our tackling looked like last year. So, that’s going to be an emphasis.”
The Packers continued their all-defense, all-the-time trend by adding North Carolina State linebacker Terrell Manning.
The Packers traded their sixth-round pick and two seventh-round picks (their own and the pick acquired for Caleb Schlauderaff) to move into the fifth round to get Manning.
Manning was NFL scout Dave-Te’ Thomas’ “sleeper” among his inside linebackers. Manning, a junior entry, had 10 sacks and 193 tackles while starting 26 of 36 games. He was an honorable mention All-American by The NFL Draft Report in 2011 with 76 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for losses.
"A physical downhill tackler with natural knee bend and a strong hand punch to jolt blockers, Manning had very good success walking offensive linemen back into the pocket," Thomas wrote in his official biography on Manning for the NFL. "The junior had a knack for being around the ball, moving with ease along the line of scrimmage and using his balance and explosive burst to penetrate the backfield regularly, evident by ten sacks and 25 tackles for loss in his two seasons as a starter."
That leaves the Packers with two compensatory picks at the end of the seventh round.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.