With their fifth round pick of the NFL Draft back in April the Kansas City Chiefs selected a player that was not on the radar of many headed into the draft. Mike Danna spent the first three years of his career playing for Central Michigan of the MAC before becoming a graduate transfer in his fourth season to the University of Michigan where he played under Jim Harbaugh. Danna had played as a 4-3 defensive end while at Central Michigan and while at Michigan he was used on the edge, as well as an interior player. While not his natural position, Danna had some success on the inside as more of a speed pass rusher. While he didn’t have elite production in his one year at Michigan he more than held his own especially playing out of position in the interior. His one season at Michigan is good to watch to see how he competed against better competition but looking back at his film from CMU will provide details for where he will play in Kansas City.
Danna recorded 17.5 career sacks in four seasons of college football, recording 9.5 in his final season at CMU. Danna is listed at just 6-foot-2 260 pounds, so what he lacks in physical gifts he makes up for in technique as well as play discipline. He will also be a good fit for Steve Spagnolo’s defensive front because of his experience using twists and line movements at CMU.
It should also be expected that because Spags likes to use different schemes and fronts depending on the down and distance it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see Danna on the field on some third down situations as an interior rusher just to try to throw a speed look out there every once in a while.
While Danna could provide some upside in sub packages for pass rush his primary impact on the game will be as an early down run stuffing DE. This is where his technique and discipline comes into place, as well as his motor.
Danna will never be an elite pass rusher for the Chiefs, and they don’t really need him to be. If he is able to hold his own in the run game, as well as play gap sound defense he will be just fine.
The biggest thing that I took away from Danna’s game was his motor. Even when the play was downfield or on the other side of the field he just kept running and kept playing until the whistle was blown. Danna will never wow anyone with his athletic ability, but if he is able to stay true to his fundamentals and technique while keeping the same heart and desire he showed in college he will find a way on to the field in Kansas City.