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Steven Daniels Ready For The Competition At Inside Linebacker


Drafted in the seventh round by the Redskins, Steven Daniels knows he has quite a bit of internal competition for a roster spot. He's ready to the challenge in making the 53-man roster.

Steven Daniels arrived in Washington ready to work and earn his keep.

Drafted by the Washington Redskins with the 232nd-overall in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the former Boston College standout understands the increased difficulty in making the team as a late-round pick, but he's confident his work ethic will bolster the likelihood of inclusion on the 53-man roster.

"There's pressure from every angle," Daniels said at the Redskins' rookie minicamp this past weekend. "There are guys who weren't drafted and they are coming out here giving it their all so I have to come out here and work as hard as possible that is what I do."

Considered to be a possible steal for the Redskins, head coach Jay Gruden said the organization was "very surprised" that Daniels was still available when they found themselves on the clock in day three of the draft. 

With 82 tackles (16 for loss) in his final season with the Eagles, Scot McCloughan is excited by the power the All-ACC defender possesses. 

"Whoever he hits goes backwards," McCloughan said following the draft. "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."

A bonafide leader of the Eagles' defensive unit last season, the 5-11 243-pound linebacker is still adjusting to leading a new group of players, but believes he can take any defense and lead them in the right direction.

There's certainly been a lot to learn, Daniel said, but then again, the same can be said for all rookies in their first real practices with their respective franchises.

Making mistakes is part of the game, but it's learning from those mistakes that will separate the Cincinnati native from the pack.

"Might miss some stuff," Daniels admitted. "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. 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."

With the 232nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected linebacker Steven Daniels of Boston College. Take a look at his collegiate career in photos.

Daniels joins a linebacking corps with plenty of talent of varying experience levels. There are longstanding veterans like the savvy 10-year veteran Adam Hayward and seven-year veteran Perry Riley Jr., but they also have up and coming stars such as Will Compton and potentially even Martrell Spaight.

Where all four of those players cut their teeth in the NFL, though, was on special teams. For many young linebackers, that is often the path that they must take. Daniels is likely to be no exception, but that's okay with him.

"That's my thing," he said. "I'll play special teams every single day of the week. It's part of loving the game. 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."

With rookie minicamp now in the review mirror, Daniels and the rest of the Redskins' 2016 draft class now moves into the next phase of their transition. After getting his feet wet inside the confines of an NFL facility, the mental aspect of the game is what Daniels believes to be the most difficult to grasp.

"Got to keep my head in the playbook and stay on the film," Daniels said. "You can get as many clips of the older guys doing things right but then you have to put yourself in that position. You're taking as much from them as you can but you're on the field you make the mistake you learn from it more."

And if you think that being a late-round pick will soften his approach when the rookies begin to practice with the veterans, then you don't know Daniels.

"It is going to be competition definitely," he said. "I'm just trying to get myself in the right shape and learn as quickly as possible so I can compete. Obviously you respect those older guys, but I've come to work, too."




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