If there’s one thing the Dallas Cowboys have done right in recent years, it tends to be their first round picks. From Tyron Smith to Zack Martin to Byron Jones, the Cowboys front office has hit much more than they’ve missed in round one.
But going back to the turn of last decade, this wasn’t always true. In 2010 the Cowboys were coming off of a Divisional Round playoff loss to the Vikings, and had a late first round pick. They ended up trading up for future star receiver Dez Bryant, but had they stayed put, their second round pick could’ve been their first selection.
Bleacher Report has been re-drafting NFL Drafts over the last couple weeks, with the 2010 NFL Draft being this week’s topic. This time, Dez Bryant went 16th overall to the Titans, leaving the Cowboys to take their future starting linebacker Sean Lee at the end of round one.
“Had it not been for injuries, Sean Lee might have been every bit the linebacker that his Penn State teammate Navorro Bowman was. When Lee was able to stay on the field, he could be an impact player—as evidenced by four 100-tackle seasons, 14 career interceptions and two trips to the Pro Bowl.”
As mentioned in the article, Sean Lee was a menace when he was healthy. The heart and soul of many Cowboys defenses, a healthy Sean Lee was always one of the league’s best linebackers. But far too often, a healthy Sean Lee was a rarity.
Later in his career the Cowboys finally got Lee some help on the defense, but by then it was too late for the veteran. Now Sean Lee is towards the end of his road in the league, but can still fill the role of a veteran leader in the locker room. Lee has always commanded the respect of his teammates, and did earn an All Pro selection back in 2016.
Drafting both Dez Bryant and Sean Lee was a win for the Cowboys during the 2010 draft, but had it not been for his injury struggles, this could’ve been the class which set the Cowboys up for quite the decade.