Duke had zero players selected in the 2012 NFL draft, and a surgery to a certain Blue Devil defensive standout might have had something to do with it.
Former Duke safety Matt Daniels underwent his procedure seven weeks ago, which would be right around the end of March or early April. Considered a late-round prospect, Daniels ended up going undrafted, thanks in part to uncertainties surrounding his knee. Daniels was a staple for Duke’s defense last season and finished his Blue Devil career with 198 tackles and two interceptions.
Daniels will look to earn a spot on the St. Louis Rams’ final roster once the team thinks he’s ready to take the field again. Among his competitors will be fellow undrafted free agent Quinton Pointer from UNLV.
Joining Matt Daniels looking for a spot on an NFL roster is tight end Cooper Helfet, who latched on with the Seattle Seahawks after the draft.
After going undrafted in this week’s NFL Draft, Duke safety Matt Daniels has signed with the Rams as a priority undrafted free agent.
The Chronicle first reported the news on Twitter following the draft, in a quick period in which the top undrafted free agents sign. Daniels was not invited to the NFL combine but boosted his draft stock at Duke’s pro timing day when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds.
In his senior season, Daniels earned All-ACC honors after making 126 tackles. He was also a second team All-American and finished third in ACC defensive player of the year voting.
No Duke football player has been selected in the draft since 2000 when defensive tackle Chris Combs was taken in the 6th round. Every ACC school but Duke and Maryland had players selected in this year’s draft.
Blue Devil safety Matt Daniels is not among the 328 players invited to attend the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, according to league press release today.
Daniels, a Walter Camp Foundation second team All-American and first team All-ACC safety, had 126 tackles and 14 pass breakups in 2011. He finished the season with a career-high 18 tackles against North Carolina.
A total of 43 ACC players received invitations, led by eight from Miami.
Despite a 3-9 season, four Duke football players earned all-conference honors, the ACC announced today.
Senior safety Matt Daniels was picked for the ACC first team after leading all conference safeties with 126 tackles. Boston College’s linebacker Luke Kuechly and Virginia Tech’s running back David Wilson were the only two unanimous selections.
Punter Alex King and wide receiver Conner Vernon earned second team honors. King had the third-highest ACC punt average with 42.08 yards per attempt, finishing five yards per punt shy of Florida State’s Shawn Powell. Vernon, a 2009 freshman all-American and 2010 all-ACC second team pick, became the first player in conference history to catch 70 passes in two separate seasons with his 70-reception, 956-yard total in 2011.
Helfet earned honorable mention honors for the second time in his two-year career, ranking third on the team in receiving with 32.9 yards per game.