40: 4.55 (estimated)
Shows good speed and range to make plays all over the field. Has enough range to challenge the deep ball. Is an enforcer that will throw his weight around. Willing in run support and comes up to deliver hit. Has good closing burst on the ball when working up in the box. Will deliver hit to receiver over the middle. Quick to come up and meet the ballcarrier in the hole. Has the speed to beat the back to the corner to prevent him from getting outside and making a big run.
Struggles in coverage and lacks awareness there. Doesn't do a good job tracking the deep throw. Gets caught out of position too much. Bites on play fakes and will get caught looking in the backfield. Doesn't have the ideal speed and range to make up for his mental mistakes in coverage. Doesn't have good hips or burst when matching up in man coverage against receivers. Will take some poor angles at times in run support, whiffing on stops in the open field.
McDaniel's ability to make plays vs. the run is impressive, but his coverage ability wasn't anything special as a junior. And he didn't really show much improvement as a senior. He has the tools, with good size, speed, and range, but isn't a particularly heady defender. He's going to make some plays, but also make his share of mistakes, and at this point it doesn't seem that the former will outweigh the latter. Had a strong junior season with 102 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 8 picks, 2 breakups, 1 forced fumble, and a touchdown on an interception return. But as a senior, his production fell to 73 tackles, 5.5 for loss, no sacks, 4 picks, 6 breakups, and no forced fumbles or recoveries. As a sophomore, he logged 8 starts with 77 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 pick, 6 breakups, 2 forced fumbles, and a recovery which he returned for a score.
He's a bit of a boom/bust prospect that if he doesn't play with more discipline, may wind up just being an average starter at the next level because he can't be trusted in coverage. His 15 career interceptions indicate that he does have potential to be a playmaker in coverage, but he makes too many mental errors, which is a major red flag when it comes to safeties. If he plays beside a smart, disciplined veteran free safety then he stands a better chance of being able to capitalize on his tools. And with a few years under his belt, he might develop the discipline to really start to blossom at the next level. He has the potential to be one of the premier safeties in the league because he has the athleticism, speed, range, and toughness to be a dual threat safety that can make plays vs. the run and pass. But if I was a betting man, I would say he probably will wind up being a player like an Antrel Rolle. A guy that is obviously talented and will make plays from time to time, but lacks the discipline and smarts to not give up a ton of big plays at the same time, particularly in coverage. That's why having a strong veteran presence beside like Rolle had in Adrian Wilson in Arizona, but not with Kenny Phillips in New York will make him a better player. I don't think he's going to be a Roy Williams-caliber liability in coverage, but it wouldn't surprise me if the secondary and defense he plays on is one like the Giants or Titans that their Achilles heel from being an elite defense always seems to be they are susceptible to the big pass play.
McDaniel doesn't bring much to the table that Moore doesn't. He doesn't have the discipline or ideal range in coverage to really think he can be an effective free safety over the long haul, despite him having more potential overall than DeCoud. And he's not as disciplined a run defender as Moore was at Missouri or has been in Atlanta, and while he offers a similar aptitude for being an opportunistic playmaker on defense, he isn't any more trustworthy in one on one coverage situations. If the Falcons soured on Moore at some point in the next two or three seasons, he would be a good insurance policy, but he isn't an upgrade. They are basically the same player, except Moore is a bit more disciplined in both run support and coverage.
McDaniel has first round potential but because of his susceptibility to being out of position on defense, he is a safer value in the second round. But he's a nice Top 50 pick for a team looking for a playmaker at the strong safety position.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Ball Skills: 3.0
Scouting reports of the safeties in the 2011 Draft.
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