The Green Bay Packers have made it immediately clear that they were unhappy with their defensive production last year. The Pack had back-to-back picks in the fourth round and ended up with Iowa defensive tackle Mike Daniels and Maine safety Jerron McMillan.
As someone who lives in the heart of Big 10 country, I watch a fair amount of Iowa football and have always been impressed with Daniels. He is very quick off the snap and can quickly maneuver around blockers to get to the quarterback.
He notched seven sacks and 13 tackles for loss last year, showing that he is able to get into the backfield in a hurry. He is also very good about not over-pursuing the football.
The biggest concern with Daniels is his lack of size. He is only about 6', 280 pounds, which makes him a bit undersized as an NFL defensive tackle. In the 3-4, expect the Packers to try and move him outside so that he can use his speed to get around blockers.
Unlike the other defensive tackle taken by the Packers, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy, I do not see him being a big contributor at the NFL level against the run. I do not see the Packers attempting to place him in the middle to be a run stuffer. He simply isn't big enough.
At worst, Daniels simply gives the Packers more depth at defensive line. After the departure of Cullen Jenkins and with Mike Neal simply not panning out, the Packers started the season thin at defensive line last year.
Even though the front seven has been the Pack's biggest offseason concern, you have seen them make some moves to try and fill the void left by the recently cut Nick Collins.
I have not watched nearly as much tape on McMillan, but he is a very fast, aggressive player who can blow up running plays and is a good tackler. Expect to see McMillan play more in the box when he is out on the field.
I do think that the Packers might have picked McMillan a bit too high, however. For a team that struggled as mightily against the pass as the Packers did last year, you would think they would go after a player who is better in coverage.
McMillan does not have great ball skills, so don't expect him to be the next Ed Reed when it comes to pass defense. His lack of interceptions last season (1) is a bit troubling for a team that depends on turnovers on defense.
The Packers must have drafted him for specific packages within the Capers defense. I could see them taking advantage of his speed to use him as a blitzer and run stuffer. Both Charlie Peprah and Morgan Burnett blew some tackles last year, so maybe they are looking for someone a little more sure-handed in the middle of the field.
Like Daniels, this pick gives the Pack a little more depth. Last year's safety pairing of Peprah and Burnett got gashed over the middle in the passing game. I think the Packers would be smart to move their other selection in the secondary, Vanderbilt's Casey Hayward, over to safety and work on developing McMillan as a better deep pass defender.
Overall, I think the Packers were able to make two more quality picks in the fourth round that gives their much maligned defense an injection of youth and a bit more depth.