Cowboys future focus: ILB Sean Lee


Position: Inside linebacker

Height: 6-2. Weight: 242

College: Penn State

How acquired: Drafted in 2010 second round, 55th overall

What he did in 2010: A hamstring strain during training camp and groin strain suffered during the season opener delayed his development, but Lee showed late in the season why the Cowboys considered him a mid-first-round talent. He displayed playmaking ability in several games, highlighted by his two-interception, one-touchdown performance against the Colts to earn the NFC defensive player of the week award. But Lee still had trouble staying healthy after earning increased playing time. He hurt his shoulder on his touchdown return, causing him to miss several practices, and left the Week 15 win over Washington due to a concussion.

What to look for in 2011: Can the Cowboys trust Lee enough to make him a starter? That’s a decision they’ll have to make this offseason – and it directly affects whether team captain Keith Brooking will return for a third season with the Cowboys. The durability issue is the only reason to doubt Lee. He’s a good athlete with excellent instincts and commitment to football. He has the potential to be a core member of the Dallas defense for the next decade.

Quotable: “He’s got all the physical ability, is extremely intelligent and loves the game. That’s what you ask for. If I’m building a team, I want 53 of those guys.” – Keith Brooking

Bryan Broaddus’ Scout’s Eye: There were things you saw this year that made you feel like he could be a starter. Injuries are the thing that hurt him the most. It’s never going to be about smarts. It’s never going to be about preparation. It’s going to be about health. He’s so aggressive, sometimes even a little too much. He had to learn to play within the scheme and be where he was supposed to be – not playing beyond the scheme. Once he gets accustomed to what he’s supposed to do, we’ve seen this guy make plays.