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Under The Radar: Mike Danna is consistently delivering strong performances

Kansas City’s fourth-year defensive end is playing a more significant role in 2023.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Last Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs delivered what might be the season’s most remarkable victory: a resounding 31-17 triumph over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Kansas City offense finally hit its stride — and after a sluggish start, the defense made the necessary adjustments to execute a second-half shutout.

In every game, there exists a player who quietly goes about their business, making impactful plays without always garnering the crowd’s attention.

This week, our focus shifts to a player whose consistent performances truly deserve recognition: former Michigan Wolverine defensive end Mike Danna, who came to Kansas City as a fifth-round draft pick in 2020.

Earlier this year, our Jared Sapp named Danna as one of three underappreciated Chiefs for this season. But after his recent performances, he is beginning to earn the recognition he deserves.

During his first three seasons, Danna primarily served as a rotational player on the defensive line, accumulating a total of 10.5 sacks over 33 games. But after Frank Clark and Khalen Saunders left in free agency during the offseason, Danna has been thrust into a more significant role — and it's paying dividends. He’s already registered 4.5 sacks — a pace that could lead to double-digit sacks by the season’s end. His 16 pressures rank third on the team — and he’s deflected two passes.

Danna is evolving into a complete defensive lineman. Against the Chargers, he recorded five tackles, three pressures and a sack — and Pro Football Focus gave him an excellent 87.5 grade for his performance against the run.

The bottom line

Danna plays a vital role in solidifying Kansas City’s exceptional defensive front; he’s a key contributor to its continued success under defensive line coach Joe Cullen, whose influence is clearly evident on every game day.

Danna could become a free agent at the end of the season — and if he does, he will be likely to attract interest from other teams. For now, however, he continues to be a significant contributor to the Chiefs’ success. We should pay close attention what he does against the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon.

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