Sean Lee | ILB | Penn State
Height and weight: 6'2, 236 lbs
Lee surprised many when he earned the starting job at Penn State in just his sophomore season. That year he compiled 89 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, and one interception. He recorded an even better Junior year when he totaled 138 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 9 passes defensed, and 3 forced fumbles. That year he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL his senior season and missed the entire year. Although injured, Lee didn't let recovering get in the way of being with his teammates. He spent his time on the sideline working as a coach and giving his insight. He returned to action last year and finished the season with 86 tackles, 11 for a loss, 2 sacks in 10 games.
Projected Round: 2nd - 3rd
Lee is a very smart football player. He shows great read and react skills and doesn't fall victim to play action and trick plays. He's composed, reads his keys quickly, and reacts on the ball with no hesitation. Against the run, Lee takes good angels against the ball and has very good straight line speed to meet the ball carrier. He's not afraid of blocks and has the agility to slice through the offense. Lee has a good initial drop and possesses that speed to hang with most backs and tight ends. Lee is a virtual lock anytime he gets a hold of the ball carrier. He has very strong hands and long arms to perform sound tackling technique. He'll time blitzes and likes to bounce to the outside to catch quarterbacks off guard. Lee brings immediate leadership to the defense and will work his tail off to improve himself and the defense.
What Lee provides in leadership, he lacks in durability. Lee missed his entire senior season and even some time the following year from knee injuries. He'd be a lock for the first round had he stayed healthy in college and now scouts are worried that he's a liability. Lee also needs to prove that he has the speed to cover the quicker backs in the NFL. He may not have the ideal sideline to sideline speed that inside linebackers require. His back pedal is stiff, and he struggles to make up ground when beat. When engaging with offensive lineman, he'll sometimes fail to release and get tied up.
It's clear that injuries hampered Lee's draft stock and thus is the reason he could slip to the third round. The plus side is that Lee becomes an instant leader on the defense and will commit to the defensive scheme immediately. He'll lead the team in tackles and can play on the inside or outside.
Some have him ranked second among inside linebackers only to Sean Weatherspoon, so drafting him in the 2nd round is far from a reach. The Cardinals would get their man in the middle and he'd bring the leadership that Karlos Dansby took when he left. What are your thoughts on Lee and would you be concerned about his health?