“He is still at the top of his game,” Lee said. “He still plays with an unbelievable amount of passion and intensity. You can see it on the field. He is still a Pro Bowl football player. It is really fun to watch him and I am hoping to learn from him.”
Lee, who reminds the Cowboys brass of Brooking, will get that opportunity on a full-time basis after the Cowboys traded up to the 55th overall pick to take him.
Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips both called Lee, whom the Cowboys had ranked in the top half of the first round, as a “Brooking-type” player without being prompted. They see similar intensity, intelligence and intangibles. And, as is the case with Brooking, all those traits come in an athletic package that can do everything the Cowboys need from an inside linebacker.
“He fundamentally does all the things that you need a linebacker to do, and he plays well in space, too,” Phillips said. “There really aren’t any weaknesses as far as his game goes. You don’t find very often in inside ‘backers.”
Lee will watch every move Brooking makes and soak up every word he speaks, much like Lee did with all the great linebackers that preceded him at Penn State. Lee believes that being around Brooking and Bradie James will teach him how to be a pro.
The Cowboys believe they got a steal in Lee, who slid in the draft due to concerns about his right knee, and expect him to be a significant contributor right away. Expect the 6-2, 236-pound Lee to play in nickel situations, special teams and occasionally spell James or Brooking in the base package.
“He’s got tremendous makeup and the athletic ability to go with it,” Jones said. “It would surprise me if a guy like Sean Lee is not playing a lot of plays.”
Sounds like there will be a lot of film of Lee in a Cowboys uniform at this time next year. If Wade and Jerry are right, it'll look a lot like watching Brooking.