With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.
Penn State's Sean Lee is a little too small to be ILB for the Patriots. At 6-2, 236 lbs, Lee has to put on 10 pounds of muscle to be considered for the position next to Jerod Mayo. I think he can do it. Lee has overcome injury to become one of the top inside linebacker prospects in the country and has the drive to succeed in the NFL. While he had a knee injury in 2008, he took on a player coach role and, in my opinion, it helped him immensely. Learning the game from a coach's perspective made him a smarter player and his production as a senior showed great improvement. Lee is a smart player who knows the game- he gets by on brains rather than brawn. If he puts on the 10 pounds of muscle, he could rule the field with brains and brawn. While his ACL injury may deter some teams, it didn't stop the Patriots from selecting Brandon Tate- and Lee is that special of a player that the Patriots might take that same chance.
His measurements and some quotes after the jump.
Height: 6-2. Weight: 236.
Projected 40 Time: 4.78.
Combine 40 Time: 4.72.
Pro Day 40 Time: 4.60.
03/14/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT INSIDE LINEBACKERS: Sean Lee, Penn State, 6-2, 236, 2-3: Lee tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in the spring of 2008, forcing him to redshirt his fourth season at Penn State rather than taking over for Dan Connor at middle linebacker. After a year spent acting as a coach from the sideline and in practice, the team captain earned second-team all-conference honors in 2009 with 86 tackles, 11 for loss, and seven pass breakups. He doesn't have great speed but has that combination of anticipation, instinct and aggressiveness that is common among successful journeyman NFL linebackers. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com/CBS Sports/USA TODAY
02/28/2010 - Confident that the knee injuries that cost him an entire season at Penn State are behind him, Sean Lee will participate in all of the drills at the NFL Scouting Combine. "The last two years (at Penn State), I wasn't nearly as durable as my first three years, but I'm here to prove I'm 100 percent," the former Upper St. Clair High standout said Saturday. "I could play right now." Lee has been training without a brace since his Penn State career ended in January. If he alleviates any concerns teams have about his knees, one NFL draft expert said he should be picked early. Some projections have Lee going in the third round of the draft. "I wouldn't be surprised if he snuck in late in the first round," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "If he doesn't, I think he's going to go in the front half of the second round. He's too good." That is what Penn State found out early in his career. Lee finished his career with 325 tackles, 29.5 tackles for losses and 11 sacks. The 6-2 Lee, who weighed in at 236 pounds at the Combine, projects as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense and an inside linebacker in a 3-4 set. "My No. 1 trait is I can get to the football," Lee said. "I think I'm good in the passing game. I think I'm a three-down linebacker, and if you watch film, you'll see I can pressure the quarterback." - Scott Brown, The Tribune Review
Even though Sean has bounced back from major knee surgery, this will be a concern for most NFL clubs. He has a good frame and natural strength to take on blockers. He is a solid tackler but not explosive on contact. Sean has decent range in pursuit but wins with effort, instincts and techniques more than athleticism. He can be effective as a zone pass defender but may be a liability in man coverage schemes. He uses his hand well to shed blockers and work thru trash. Sean is a very productive player that elevated his draft status with his consistent play.
Final word: Lee profiles a lot like former Penn State linebackers Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor. He's a heady player with solid strength and athleticism. He'll probably never be a spectacular player, but he's very solid.
Verdict: Lee is the anti-Brandon Spikes. Spikes is a ferocious player, but gets by on his athleticism. Lee is more like a Tedy Bruschi- he plays with instinct and gets by with his intelligence. I like Lee as a player and, if he hadn't gotten injured, he could have been a first round prospect. Lee could be the perfect compliment next to Jerod Mayo- not a spectacular player, but one who gets the job done. I wouldn't be upset if we took Lee with our last second rounder, and I would be even happier if we traded down into the 3rd to grab him.