Position: Inside Linebacker
Size: 6'2, 242
Age: 24, 7/22/86
College: Penn State
Drafted: Round 2, #55 - 2010
Experience: 1 Season
Salary History and Contract Status : 7/23/2010: Signed a four-year, $3.49 million contract. The deal contains $1.7 million guaranteed, including a $1.2 million signing bonus. 2011: $405,000, 2012: $490,000, 2013: $575,000, 2014: Free Agent
2010 Draft Profile From OurLads: (4th- ranked OLB) Sean Lee - Penn State - 6'2 - 236 - 4.78. Three-year starter. Projects to the outside because of his angular build
and lack of mass. May fit as an inside linebacker for some 3-4 teams because of outstanding instincts. Has a nose for the ball. Can adjust on the move. Gets through traffic and has good ability to run to the ball. Outstanding football aptitude. Doesn't get fooled on play action and misdirection. Competitive. He had to fight to get tackles on his own team with Josh Hull and Navarro Bowman. Has the range, speed, and lateral quickness to be effective in downfield pursuit. Takes good angles. Can break up and make an open field tackle. Plays with good knee bend and functional strength. A wrap-up tackler that doesn't give ground. Good recognition in zone coverage to react, drop, turn, and get depth. Good mid and short area coverage and awareness. Active and relentless in effort. Missed 2008 season with torn ACL. Had 324 career tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, and 17 passes broken up. Personal protector for the punter. Will contribute on special teams. Second/Third Round.
2010: With the exception of Dez Bryant, no Cowboys' newcomer was tabbed for bigger things than the rookie LB out of Penn State. The Cowboys told us on draft day that they had Lee labeled as a Top 15 pick in the 2010 draft and that they thought hard about taking him as their 1st Round pick if Bryant was off the board. But, they ended up getting both of the players and the bar was set very high for Lee. My review of his season has to be two-fold. 1) When he played - which was not very much (167 snaps all season long) - he demonstrated the ability that was advertised. He seems to have tremendous range, the rather rare ability to shed blocks, and intensity and motor that you look for from inside LBs. All of that came together in that road game at Indianapolis. But, it must be contrasted against 2) He showed the inability to stay on the field. It started in August with a strained quad which cost him several weeks and being inactive in Weeks 2 and 3 - and continued into December with a concussion suffered on a kickoff against the Redskins. In the past few days we have studied the durability of both Bradie James and Keith Brooking at this high collision spot on the field. It certainly does not go unnoticed that Lee has already dealt with more health issues in 1 season than Brooking and James have combined since 2003. This all after missing the entire 2008 season at Penn State. When he did play, he graded very well, so everyone is holding their breath that this will not be an issue for long.
2011 Analysis: If Sean Lee is healthy, everyone in the organization believes that he is a key piece of this defense moving forward. He is perfect for the "MO" inside LB - the weakside inside LB who usually runs free and shoots the gaps to make the tackle, and also does not appear to be a target in coverage or space. When you talk about key players who can help swing the season one direction or another, I would contend that Lee is on the shortlist for 2011. If he stays healthy and plays to his paper, I believe that he will shoot up the rankings on this roster in a matter of months. The Colts game gave us a taste of what he is capable of. But, we must remember that Bobby Carpenter also had a breakout game in 2006 (the playoff game at Seattle) and many of us wondered if that might be a trampoline for his career in 2007 and beyond. The sky is the limit for Lee, but it all starts with his ability to show he can perform the most basic and vital test for any NFL linebacker - stay out of the training room and on the field.