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What Daniels signing means for Lions' defense

An already strong Detroit Lions defensive front just got a lot stronger with the signing of Pro Bowl defensive lineman Mike Daniels.

The veteran Daniels was cut by Green Bay earlier this week after spending more than seven years with the club.

Daniels, a versatile player upfront, joins Damon Harrison Sr., Da'Shawn Hand and A’Shawn Robinson to form a very strong interior defensive line group in Detroit.

"For us, hopefully, we're going to add someone I have a lot of respect for that's had really good production," head coach Matt Patricia said of Daniels ahead of Saturday's practice. "He loves football. He's one of those guys who just comes to work every day. A blue collar guy. He's one of those guys who loves the grind of the game."

In his career, Daniels has appeared in 102 games (72 starts) and logged 225 tackles (154 solo), 29.0 sacks, 64 quarterback hits and 44 tackles for loss.

Daniels' best season was in 2017, when he had 49 tackles, eight tackles for loss, five sacks and a forced fumble in 14 games. That was good enough to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl.

Since becoming a full-time starter in 2014, Daniels is one of two defensive tackles in the NFL (Sheldon Richardson) to produce at least 150 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 20.0 sacks and one interception over the last five seasons.

Last season, he played in just 10 games before a foot injury cut his season short.

"Very smart when you talk to him about different schemes and different things that he can do," Patricia said of Daniels. "Very aware of the division, which is nice, so he's got some good insight there, which will help us. I think just that intensity he's going to bring is going to help the entire team but obviously the guys in that room.

"We've got some great players there, but hopefully they'll all just kind of make each other better."

Daniels is a plus defender both against the run and as a pass rusher in the interior. He should fit in nicely on a defense that finished 10th in the NFL in run defense last season.

To make room for Daniels on the 90-man camp roster, the Lions released running back Theo Riddick. The former sixth-round pick caught 285 passes for the Lions over a six-year career, but the Lions have built up their depth at running back with Kerryon Johnson, C.J. Anderson, Zach Zenner and rookie Ty Johnson.

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