Boston College linebacker Steven Daniels was selected in the 7th round of the NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. According to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, Daniels is now under contract:
Washington deal for seventh-round pick Steven Daniels: $2.581 million, including $77,296 signing bonus— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) May 5, 2016
Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that he was "surprised" when Daniels was still on the board in the last round. Gruden called Daniels a physical linebacker and added that "when he thumps you, he thumps you."
While the quotes from Gruden were positive you still have to pump the brakes a little and remember that Daniels was selected in the 7th round, so it obviously isn’t a slam dunk that he will make the roster. However, the early indications out of Washington are that Daniels will have a great chance to make the roster if he can be a contributor on special teams.
The Redskins are actually pretty deep at the middle linebacker spot right now with Perry Riley, Will Compton and Mason Foster all returning after seeing playing time this year. Of the group, only Foster is signed past this season so that’s a positive for Daniels. Also, in the Pro Football Focus linebacker ratings for 2015, only Foster got a grade higher than "replaceable player", and his grade was a "backup". While the group is deep, Daniels isn’t exactly competing against Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner for a starting spot.
It’s been rumored that the signing of cornerback Josh Norman could help Daniels earn a roster spot as well. The reason for that is that Washington has to clear some cap space to accommodate their new big money cornerback that just signed a five-year deal worth $75 million. Middle linebacker Perry Riley is on the books for 5.05 million this year and could be in danger of being released. That means Daniels will have to compete with Adam Hayward and Martrell Spaight for the 3rd linebacker spot on the roster. Both of those players are coming off of season ending injuries last year.
Daniels isn’t a lock to make the ‘Skins gameday roster but he at least looks to be in good position to be on the practice squad.