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Seven Things We've Learned About Steven Daniels


As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.

Today, we'll focus on rookie linebacker Steven Daniels.

1. He's a good bet to make an impact on special teams this year:

Check out images of linebacker Steven Daniels during his first few months with the Washington Redskins.

Special teams is the route most linebackers go to begin their NFL careers, and Daniels seems like an ideal fit and performed well there in OTAs. Daniels has no problem with playing special teams and is just excited to get a chance to play and contribute. 

"That's my thing. I'll play special teams every single day of the week. It's part of loving the game," Daniels said. "It's three phases: offense, defense and special teams. You got to be a part of one of them so I'm going to try and get my feet wet with special teams first."

2. Scot McCloughan is impressed with his physicality:

"Whoever he hits goes backwards," McCloughan said when describing him. "That's just a physical strength that you can't develop it. You either have it or you don't have it. He'll knock his own players out if he has to trying to get to the ball. He brings in competitiveness and a toughness that he isn't going to back down from anybody. You're going to have to beat him out to get him out of here, and that's what I want."

3. He was the leader on the number one defense in college football last year:

Daniels was the ringleader for the Boston College defense last year. As captain, all he did was total 82 tackles (16 for a loss) and lead the Eagles to having the No. 1 defense in the FBS in 2015.

4. He is excited to be a Redskin:

The seventh round was continuing to progress and Daniels was beginning to worry if his name was ever going to get called on that third and final day. He was incredibly relieved and eager when he got the call from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden saying that they were going to draft him with 232nd pick overall.

"It's a wonderful feeling for them to give me that call right about now," he said. "Talking to Coach Gruden on the phone, and I know GM Scot McCloughan was right there, definitely they made the decision together to take me and it's just a wonderful opportunity and I can't wait to get to work for them."

5. He can make an impact in the running game:

Daniels is a hard-nosed player and has made a name for himself in the running game for being a sure tackler and plugging up holes and not allowing the running back to have any daylight. 

"I'm definitely going to contribute to the defense, definitely be dominant in the downhill run game," Daniels said.

Jay Gruden also talked about his ability to give offenses problems on the ground.

"He's tough. He can stop the run. He knows where to go, he's great with his eyes, and when he thumps you, he thumps you," Gruden said.

6. He practiced his pass coverage skills this offseason and it showed in practice:

One area of focus Daniels wanted to address was his quickness in the passing game. If there was one weakness in his game at college it was his coverage ability, but he worked hard and did many different drills to -- pun intended -- tackle this weakness.

"At my training facility, just drilling pass drops and really loosening my hips. I had tight hips before. It's just something in college I needed to work on and knew I needed to work on it," Daniels said. "Just drilling that, working on my pass coverages, changing direction, and just really had to get those things together. Once I know that I have weaknesses, I know I have to change that, you know what I mean? So that was going to bring this opportunity for me."

7. He is not worried about mistakes, but excited and ready to learn and get better from them:

Too many players nowadays are afraid to make mistakes and get down on themselves too much for making errors, but Daniels knows that making mistakes is part of the game and learning from them will separate him from the rest of guys.

"Might miss some stuff, but like I said, progressively getting better every day, watching myself on film, watching my mistakes and then just understanding the playbook is what I try to focus on," he said. "Once I get my responsibilities down I can lead any group. I just want to put myself in the right positions so that I know my thing and I can lead those guys in the right way."

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