- March 9, 1999
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "Brent Daniels is a nuggety midfielder who has explosive speed and good skills for a player who is predominantly inside. He can sometiems overuse the football and get caught or fumble at top speed, but as a whole he has had an impressive year."
Brent Daniels is a player that reminds me a little of Dane Swan in the way that he moves. At 171cm and 70kg he is clearly well below the expected height of modern footballers, but like Caleb Daniel before him, he ticks more boxes than most. He is one of the best users in the TAC Cup, averaging more than 70 per cent by foot, and he has the athleticism to make him a dangerous prospect on the outside. Despite the attractive outside features, Daniels wins the majority of his possessions on the inside, maintaining a high efficiency in the process. The areas of improvement from here are his tendancy to sometimes run that extra couple of metres and lose possession, as well as improving his hands on the inside.
- Goal sense
Daniels is an exciting pocket rocket who started as a smart forward, but progressed into the midfield later in the season. His damaging combination of speed and skill make him able to play anywhere on the field and had it not been for his height, he could have been a running half-back as well. Often Daniels is seen bursting through the middle of the ground taking a few bounces and then kicking inside 50. He is not afraid to back himself in and take on the opposition. It was no surprise he recorded a 2.95 second 20m sprint and a 8.11 second agility test at the National Combine. He is nimble but has the strength to break tackles if required, and giving him and inch will see him take a mile.
If Daniels was 10-15cm taller, no doubt he would be in discussions as a first round selection. There is no getting past the height factor, but given he received a National Combine invite shows that clubs are willing to overlook his height. He will likely play as a small forward at AFL level and he has the brains and goal sense to play there and worry opponents. He uses his agility to break free of an opposition players’ grasp and apply scoreboard pressure, which he did often earlier in the 2017 season. He booted 13 goals from seven games with the Pioneers, but this is a more impressive stat given most of his matches later on he played predominantly through the midfield.
- Hands in close
- Overuse of the footy
Daniels improvements are pretty straight forward and can be fixed. We won’t include the height, because that is more of a question mark and cannot be an improvement. But the two main improvements are his hands in close, and his overuse of the football. Daniels is not too dissimilar to Devon Smith in that he backs himself to take the important kick or break the lines, but sometimes it can lead to a mistake such as getting caught or dropping the ball after rushing to bounce it. While his confidence and willingness to back himself is impressive, it is an area that could be worked on to ensure he knows his limitations.
Secondly, his hands in close is just a little tweak I would like to see in the future. In space he will often handball looking for the one-two in order to use his run and carry, but when on the inside, sometimes he will handball and it is more shovelled out to space rather than necessarily to a teammate. Again it is not all that often given his high efficiency rate, but he is ranked in the top five National Combine invitees for ineffective handballs. As a whole I cannot see it greatly impacting him at AFL level as he will likely be a small forward, but just a way to develop should he get midfield minutes.
DRAFT PROJECTION: 3rd round onwards
Brent Daniels is breaking the trend for modern prototype players, standing at just 171cm. While not many players get given an opportunity at that height, Daniels is a classy player with some inside grunt which is attractive to AFL recruiters. More impressively he has elite speed and clean hands bursting through traffic which can often break a game open. If he can learn to temper his runs so he does not lose possession every now and again, then he will be a very damaging player in the future. He adds pressure and X-factor to a forward 50 and expect his name to pop up somewhere later on in the draft.