Daniels: A Scout's Eye View

Since the news of the Cleveland Browns trade for Travis Daniels was announced on Wednesday, the OBR's John Taylor has been in contact with scouts around the NFL to get their opinions on the team's newest cornerback. Here are their unvarnished opinions...

Sometimes, a change of scenery can be productive for a player. Get in a new system, a new scheme, and leave some of the on-the-field baggage in their past far behind.

In theory, that works a lot in this league. Provided, of course, that said player possesses the requisite talent to be successful in the NFL to start with.

And therein lies the rub as far as Travis Daniels is concerned. After speaking with several NFL scouts regarding the Browns' latest attempt to put a band-aid on a gashed secondary, it's obvious that this acquisition is viewed in multiple corners of the professional football world as… ummm… not good.

Let's just say the early returns from outside the organization will not be included in any job application that may be a part of Daniels' future.

"What's the point of giving up a seventh-rounder for someone who's going to be cut?" one scout wondered, before adding, "and then to do it for somebody who's torched as much or more than what they have on the roster already? Unbelievable."

Daniels is a cornerback/safety in his fourth year out of LSU who has, following a somewhat productive rookie season in 2005, seen his production fall precipitously the past two seasons.

"Coming out of college, he was a borderline first-day pick, but most teams had him going between the fourth and sixth rounds," an AFC East scout said of Daniels, who ended up being taken by Miami in the fourth round by his former college coach Nick Saban.

"Speed has always been an issue with him, and it has not gotten better since he came into the league. His instincts (for the position) are actually pretty good, but he just doesn't have that closing speed, that burst, you look for in getting to the ball."

As for giving up a draft pick, even a seventh-rounder as has been reported, the consensus was "why?"

"Guys like (Daniels) are a dime a dozen. He's not really good against the run, and he struggles with his strength in knocking receivers off their routes. The cut lists will be littered with this type of player in a few days. It just doesn't make a lot of sense, honestly," the East scout said.

"I understand the need to get somebody in there, so that he can get some time in the system before the regular season starts, but man. (The Dolphins) have to be laughing their (rear ends) off getting something for a player of his caliber," another scout said.

To a man, each scout agreed that, in order for Daniels to be even moderately successful, he cannot be left alone in one-on-one press coverages. He's strictly a zone-type nickel or dime corner in the slot, covering an area within close proximity to the line of scrimmage.

Of course, the above is also a very apt description of Terry Cousin and Mike Adams, who are currently waging a slap-fight for the nickel slot on passing downs. It's expected that Daniels will get the opportunity to figure into the nickel equation or, at least, be a part of the dime package should he do enough over the next nine days to impress the staff and make the roster.

"If (Daniels) is the nickel corner at the start of the season for any reason other than injury, (the Browns) are in trouble. Hell, even if it is for injury, they're in trouble," said an NFC East scout

One scout did leave Orange & Brown Report readers with a little encouraging news. Very little, though.

"If you have him as your nickel (back) in the slot, he likely wouldn't hurt them too bad if he were pressed into limited service. And he can probably give them something on special teams as well."

For some reason, damning with faint praise comes to mind…

(WRITER'S NOTE: the above opinions were those of trained professionals and do not necessarily reflect the view of The OBR. I have no recollection of seeing Daniels play at the NFL level. Honestly, I couldn't tell you the difference between Travis Daniels and Jack Daniel's. Well, yes I could, but you get the point.)



The OBR Top Stories