Road to the Draft

Meet the Prospect: James Daniels

Posted Apr 13, 2018

Get to know offensive line prospect James Daniels.

Name: James Daniels

Position: C

School: Iowa

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 306

40-yard dash: (did not run)

Bench: 21 reps

Vertical: 30.5 inches

Broad: 108.0 inches

3-cone: 7.29 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.4 seconds

How he fits: The Lions signed veteran guard Kenny Wiggins in free agency. The expectation is that he competes with Joe Dahl for the left guard spot, allowing Graham Glasgow to slot into the center spot, with veteran Wesley Johnson providing depth at center.

But Lions general manager Bob Quinn told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in February that he was still leaving his options open with Glasgow depending on what the roster looked like following free agency and the draft. The good thing for Quinn and Co. is that Glasgow can play either guard or center.

Daniels is considered to be the best pure center prospect in this draft. He comes from an Iowa program that consistently pumps out good talent to the NFL. Daniels is considered a plug-and-play center right away as a rookie. He’s fluid in his movements and technically sound.

Daniels does have some experience at guard, but most of his career at Iowa was spent playing center, and that’s where he projects best at the NFL level.

Key observations: He's the brother of NFL running back LeShun Daniels (who spent time with the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers and Washington Redskins last season).

Daniels was one of just four true freshmen to see action for the Hawkeyes in 2015, playing in every game and starting two at left guard before being moved to center permanently in 2016.

What they had to say about him: “Daniels is a very athletic and technically proficient center. In the run game, he's extremely quick and effective on reach blocks and second-level blocks. I'm amazed by his ability to stay attached with his hands while he re-works his foot positioning.

“In pass pro, he plays with outstanding knee bend and balance. He shoots his hands quickly and can anchor against power as well as redirect vs. counters. He's very aware. Daniels is one of the best center prospects I've evaluated in the last five years.” – Daniel Jeremiah

How he stacks up: Jeremiah has Daniels as the No. 22 overall prospect in this draft and the third best interior offensive lineman (No. 1 center) behind Quenton Nelson of Notre Dame and Will Hernandez of UTEP.

Scouts Inc. lists Daniels as the No. 23 overall prospect on their Big Board.

Daniels comes in at No. 17 overall by NFL Draft Scout.

What he had to say: “Jason Kelce from the Eagles,” Daniels said at the Combine when asked who he tailors his game after. “They (Eagles) run a lot of stuff we run at Iowa, outside zone, pin-and-pull, inside zone. I think he’s one of the best athletes at offensive line in the NFL. He’s a great runner and great with his hands. That’s who I model my game after.”