Mike Danna showed production in 2020 as a backup for the Chiefs. In 2021 he should deserve to play more.
When Mike Danna was drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft not many in Kansas City had heard of the University of Michigan grad transfer, who played mostly in a reserve role in his final college season. He didn’t put up wild numbers and was very run of the mill in terms of athletic ability, but he did have some traits that make a good football player.
He was tough, physical, played assignment sound, played with a high IQ, and played hard. After one season in Kansas City, we got to see all of these traits flash as Danna showed Chiefs Kingdom what kind of a player he is.
Strictly going off of numbers, Danna didn’t do anything spectacular in 2020, finishing the year with, just 25 total tackles and 2.5 sacks, but considering the amount of depth the Chiefs have at the defensive end position and on the defensive line as a whole it was nice to see him flash in the limited amount of playing time that he did get.
The sack above was a testament to his mental side of the game. He recognizes the flat rout, is able to get off of one block, then is able to take away the man Justin Herbert wanted to go with, and is able to provide enough of a distraction to close in on the sack. This is not an easy play by any means especially with the run action in on the play as well.
Danna has only modest size, even for a defensive end, but his leverage and pad level make up for this as he consistently won position battle, and very rarely was moved off a spot by a single blocker.
Play recognition is something many young defensive players can struggle with when coming into the league, but Danna lets his eyes take him where he needs to go on the play above. He pursues the play and is able to take away the outside and forces the ball carrier back in where he makes the stop.
He is one of those guys that can be described as the ultimate team player, he’s never going to blow any one away with his stats, but his consistent play is always going to earn him more reps. In the NFL, consistency keeps players employed.
The Chiefs’ defense has slowly been building since general manager Brett Veach came to town. They have star power with players like Chris Jones, and Tyrann Mathieu. They even have an assortment of young up-and-coming potential big-time players like L’Jarius Sneed, Juan Thornhill, and Willie Gay What makes the defense special though is that they can surround these stars with glue guys.
These guys are players like Derrick Nnadi, Bashaud Breeland, Anthony Hitchens, and Daniel Sorensen. Guys who might not have the numbers or flash to make headlines, but players that every great and Super Bowl caliber team has to have to win.
This is the level of player I think Danna will fall into for most of his career. The Chiefs will likely lose Tahno Kpassagnon and Alex Okafor in free agency so this is Danna’s time to step up.