Strengths: Clemson was often able to use McDaniel to cover the slot receiver and he did an exemplary job. He can be physical at the line and really push the receiver around. Understands how a play is going to develop and has the look of a smart football player. McDaniel was also used in the linebacker/safety spot at times. It took advantage of his strong play against the run. McDaniel takes good angles to the ball and doesn’t get held up on blocks. Looks to have good playing speed to chase down the ball carrier. Is a fundamentally sound tackler, but really likes to lay out opponents. Closes with a lot of quickness. Known as a film-room warrior.
Weaknesses: Is a little stiff in the hips and doesn’t change direction with ease as well as you’d prefer. Because of that, McDaniel has trouble at times in zone where he has to move around a large area. If McDaniel gets out of position in coverage, he can be easily beaten. For whatever reason, McDaniel was extremely inconsistent in 2010. That may make some teams hesitant on plugging him in as a rookie.
Final word: McDaniel really arrived as an NFL prospect with a sensational 2009 season. On the year, he had 102 tackles and eight interceptions, earning All American honors. He has a lot of attributes to be a very good NFL safety. He’s big and physical, and has some versatility to his game. However, there’s just something holding him back from being a premier prospect.