Cowboys Draft 2010: What They're Saying About Sean Lissemore

Sean Lissemore could provide the Cowboys depth at both nose tackle and defensive end. Picture courtesy of northjersey.com

We conclude this series with the Cowboys' 7th-round pick (234th overall), defensive lineman, Sean Lissemore. The former William & Mary DT has already made a bit of an impression on the coaching staff during rookie mini-camp.

Lissemore is another player in a growing line of small school linemen prospects that the Cowboys have drafted. And the team has definitely found some success taking chances on such linemen as DE Harvey Martin (1973 3rd-rounder from E. Texas St.), DT Leon Lett (1991 7th-rounder from Emporia St.), and OG/OT Larry Allen (1994 2nd-rounder from Sonoma St.).

So far, Lissemore is drawing comparisons to the player for whom he will be in competition to back up: All-Pro nose tackle Jay Ratliff. Wade Phillips and the Cowboys passed on taking a big, plugger of a NT in this year's draft to come away with a guy who has similar skills to Ratliff. This suggests that Phillips values a high pressure player at that position rather than a typical run-stuffing nose guard that would likely come out on passing downs. When you consider that the Cowboys will be facing some high octane passing offenses, such as those of the Colts and Saints this season, then the pick makes sense.

At 6-4, around 300 lbs., Lissemore is the same size as Ratliff. From everything I've read, he is tenacious, quick, and tough to block. He will have to fight to make this squad, but considering his main competition will come from the two Juniors, Siavvi and UDFA Aumavae, there could be a roster spot for him. The versatility he would offer by showing he can play both DE and NT could help sway the job towards his favor.

Without further ado, let's see what they're saying about Sean Lissemore.

Warning! If you are aversive to the word "motor", do not continue reading.

Jerry Jones on Lissemore after the draft:

Jay Ratliff has always certainly impressed from his motor. Just what he is with a motor in the term of just sheer hustle, that I would call it from old school.

Sean Lissemore’s got that. He’s got a good motor. So there is a legitimate comparison there."

Yesterday on Rome is Burning, Ratliff talked about what it took for him to succeed as a 7th-round draft choice (video).

Wade Phillips:

"Sean Lissemore has a big time motor and played up there at William and Mary but played in some big time games, so we had a chance to look at him."

On Sean Lissemore being a nose tackle or a defensive end:

"He can play both, and Ratliff can actually play both. If you can get the attributes like Jay’s or any of the top guys we have, then that’s what you’re looking for."

On how Lissemore will fit in:

"He’s a real smart kid so I think he can learn those pretty easily. But we will probably start him at end first and work him inside. But nose guard is actually easier to learn."

Coach Phillips on Lissemore's speed:

"Yeah, he can run," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "When you get a guy late in the draft, you have to have a quality you really like about them. A 300-pound guy that can run like that, that's a good start for him."

A high school track star and wrestler:

"I ran an 11.2 in the 100-meter dash," Lissemore said. "I weighed about 235-240 pounds at that time. I can't remember off the top of my head what my 200-meter dash time was; I want to say somewhere around 23 seconds. Shot put I threw about 51.5 and discus was somewhere in the 140's."

"Wrestling is one of the best sports possible for football and defensive line specifically," Lissemore said. "It really helps with flexibility, strength, endurance, mental toughness and hand work especially."

Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips' draft day call to Lissemore (0:52)

DC.com conference call with Lissemore (6:15)

Lissemore's DC.com bio.

SBN's Big Cat Country has a really nice pre-draft scouting report on Lissemore. It is a must read if you are interested in this guy, complete with a few highlights, his college statistics, and some analysis.

2009 W&M defensive highlights video (Lissemore is #93)

The Big Blue View also scouted Lissemore. We know the Giants were all about drafting front-seven defenders this year.

Why Lissemore fits with the Giants: Because there are questions about all of the Giants defensive tackles, and you have to like some of the things you hear about this guy. Sometimes useful players come out of nowhere. Could this guy be one of those? Maybe.

Why the Giants should pass: Well, if the Giants were to draft Brian Price or another defensive tackle early they really wouldn't have a use for Lissemore -- except as training camp fodder.

Analysis by CBSSports.com:

Pass rush: Hustle rusher fights through double teams. Swims over linemen if they lean toward him. Fluid running into the backfield, closes quickly on quarterback for his size. Fair change of direction skills. Gives secondary effort to get to the passer if he holds onto the ball too long. Gets his hands into passing lanes, and has the hands to make interceptions on tipped balls.

Run defense: Plays bigger than his weight indicates, but still can get pushed off the line of scrimmage. Keeps eyes in the backfield on run plays, disengages to grab ballcarriers before they get through the hole. Keeps himself alive by recoiling and spinning off doubles to make plays. Excellent chase down the line and downfield.

Explosion: Explosive off the snap for his size and delivers a strong blow, FCS linemen can't prevent him from getting a push on a pass rush or shooting through gaps to penetrate.

Strength: Has enough upper-body strength to disengage against lower-level linemen, whether standing his ground inside or moving down the line, but will have a more difficult time moving linemen at the next level. Loses the leverage battle against stout linemen when playing with his pads too high.

Tackling: Very active tackler for an interior lineman, can drop his hips and break down in space to secure the stop. Gets downfield to help teammates bring down ballcarriers. Closes on the ball behind the line of scrimmage using speed and effort. Does not miss tackles.

Intangibles: High-motor player who gives full effort to go along with that elite athleticism. Vocal on the sidelines and locker room, also leads by example. Plays hurt.

NFL.com's pick analysis:

Slightly undersized, Lissemore has outstanding speed for a defensive tackle. He also has above average quickness, and will have a chance to compete for a backup spot in Dallas.

Lissemore was a pretty popular guy during William & Mary's Pro Day.

The 6-3 ½, 298-pounder had an impressive pro day on March 17. Lissemore ran a 4.85 40-yard-dash and posted a 30.0 vertical jump and 9-8 broad jump. He also put up 36 reps on the bench press.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary represented one of the 22 NFL teams that were in attendance at William & Mary’s pro day.

SI says Lissemore has a "warrior mentality".

Lissemore is a small but fiery defensive lineman who plays with a warrior mentality. He has size and athletic limitations yet could be used as a backup/special teams player in a conventional four-man line.

The Charlotte Observer listed him as their "sleeper" defensive line prospect.

William & Mary DT Sean Lissemore had a standout college career but wasn't invited to the combine. However, he impressed scouts with his pro day workout, including two 40-yard dash times around 4.8 seconds.

Lissemore had shoulder surgery following his sophomore season at William & Mary. Regarding his return to the field, his defensive line coach had this to say (PDF):

"The thing I liked was that he finished the [2007] season and was physically hurt," defensive line coach Trevor Andrews said. "It showed the toughness and the intangibles that coaches look for. Because of the surgery though, he was not full strength to start the season [last year]. He was good enough to start on our defense, but he was frustrated because he was not making the plays he wanted to be breaking off."

[snip]

"He would come talk to me [early in the season] and say ‘I just want to make plays. I don't want to feel like I'm not doing anything'," Andrews said. "He just needed his strength back, his range of motion, but also his confidence."

Lissemore's college head coach:

"He's a lot easier to coach than he is to block," William and Mary coach Jimmye Laycock said. "He disrupted our offense throughout spring practice."

I will leave you with a couple of beastly quotes from the Cowboys' new defensive lineman:

"There was this one play in spring ball," Lissemore said. "I picked up one of our running backs and I kind of did a suplex (driving him into the ground). I kind of felt bad about it … "

"I personally enjoy just laying some people out," he said. "I got a shot on the one kid. It won't show up in the box score, but I took his helmet off."

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