The Dallas Cowboys had plenty of options at safety or tackle after trading up to pick #55. Instead, they went with another position, linebacker (inside?) with Penn State player Sean Lee. (The Cowboys gave up pick #125 to move up four spots, perhaps jumping the Patriots for his services)
Mayock ranks Lee as the second-best inside linebacker prospect in the draft behind Alabama's Rolando McClain.
"It wouldn't surprise me if one of those really good teams that made it to the playoffs last year, between 25 and 32, that don't have a lot of needs but they just want a good, solid football player, I wouldn't be surprised if he snuck in late in the first round," Mayock said during a conference call in February.
The Cowboys are a little thin at ILB. Bradie James is solid, and Keith Brooking had a great 2009. But Brooking is an aging veteran and Jason Williams from last year's draft is still an unknown, Bobby Carpenter is still around as a backup, too. The Cowboys must be feeling very confident with their OL and safety situation. Kind of a surprise with all the talent we thought they might be targeting still on the board, but Lee is a highly-ranked linebacker that represents good value. His one big knock is durability, he's had his injury problems.
-- Dave Halprin
It's a Wade's World Now, More Than Ever
Wade Phillips knows linebackers. He coached them in college and in the pros and he's particular about the guys he chooses to staff his 3-4 quartet. Three years ago, Wade won 13 games with Demarcus Ware, Akin Ayodele, Bradie James and Greg Ellis as his backers.
Two years later, only Ware and James remained and with the selection of Jason Williams in the 3rd last year and Sean Lee in the 2nd this season, we have concrete proof that Phillips will be sticking around a while. These are his guys, they're smart and they're athletic. It's a departure from the Bill Parcells linebacker prototype, which emphasizes power.
Lee is a football player. He's smart, he's productive and he excels on passing and run downs. He and Williams both could play three downs. This marks the beginning of the end of Bobby Carpenter's time in Dallas, and means the clock has likely started ticking on Bradie James. In 2011, you'll likely see a Ware, Lee, Williams and Spencer unit running the field -- and running fast.
-- Rafael Vela