Hitchens Says He's Not Ready to Replace Sean Lee

Dallas drafted Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens in the fourth round of this month's NFL Draft

With Sean Lee almost certainly out for the year with a torn ACL, suffered on the first day of OTAs on Tuesday, Cowboys rookie Anthony Hitchens is looking at the possibility that he’ll have to replace the unquestioned leader of the defense. With a nod to realism, the fourth-round pick out of Iowa told reporters after the workout that he isn’t ready for that responsibility just yet.

“Honestly, right now, no,” Hitchens told the team’s official website. “But I will get there. It’s going to take time. I’ve still got to get everything down. If we had a game tomorrow, no, but it’s a good thing we don’t. I have time to get better.”

It’s worth noting that Hitchens only had a rookie mini-camp and one day of OTAs under his belt when he said this, and the man he’s replacing, when healthy, is probably the team’s best defensive player--so his comments aren’t exactly surprising.

Hitchens is confident he’ll be ready if he has to step into Lee’s position when the regular season arrives. But when he joined the first team after Lee was hurt on Tuesday, he quickly learned that he--like all rookies, really--will have to get used to the speed of the game.

“It was a different speed,” Hitchens said. “Obviously, guys are moving a lot faster and stuff like that. But it was a good opportunity to see where I need to be at, and I’m not there yet. It was a big eye-opener, like, ‘OK, you’re not where you need to be and there’s still room to improve.’”

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