Possibility at 17: Mark Sanchez

What NFL Draft Countdown thinks:

Strengths:
Nice bulk and a solid frame...Good athlete...Arm strength is more than adequate and can make all the throws...Good mechanics and delivery with a quick release...Terrific accuracy...Really anticipates well and displays nice touch and timing...Will buy time in the pocket and make plays with his feet...Can throw on the run...Good ball skills...Intelligent with a high football IQ...Recognizes blitzes, can read coverages and go through his progressions...Product of a pro style offense...Is tough, fiery and super competitive...Truly loves the game...Excellent work ethic...A team leader and field general...Media  savvy...Still has upside.

Weaknesses:
Limited starting experience...Doesn't have the ideal height that you look for...Durability is a concern...Does not always throw a tight spiral...Has some trouble with the deep ball...Can get flustered by a strong pass rush...Makes some bad decisions...Won't run away from people...Had an issue  off-the-field...Was surrounded by a lot of talent.

What SB Nation's Mocking the Draft thinks:

Strengths: Sanchez is probably the most intelligent quarterback in this year's class. Playing out of USC's pro-style offense, Sanchez excelled at reading defenses and properly going through his progressions. Is always looking around on the whole field, keeping his face mask square with the line of scrimmage. Good arm strength to make just about any NFL throw. Put  passes in good spots for receivers to make easy catches. Accurate passer when he's moving to either the left or the right. Probably a good fit for the West Coast offense because he doesn't have great arm strength. Has quick feet to get into position to make throws. Makes quick decisions and is a smart player. Team captain as a junior.

Weaknesses: Sanchez' release is a windup, slow release. It's not as bad as former Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson, but it's similar. Does he have the size? Only 225 pounds, Sanchez needs to get bigger to handle getting hit in the NFL. Prone to some inconsistency. Had 22 touchdowns in six of his games. Still developing as a quarterback. Only started one full season and was injured at the start of the year. Started 16 games total. Has some injury and character questions. Was arrested but not charged with sexual assault in 2006. Before the 2008 season, Sanchez suffered a dislocated kneecap.

 

What I think:

Sanchez is my favorite quarterback prospect in the Draft. He has the tools necessary to put together a very nice career. Unlike a lot of college quarterbacks, he has played in a pro style offense and actually knows how to make reads. His accuracy is excellent. His physical tools are adequate for the pro game. He absolutely shredded a really good Penn State defense in the Rose Bowl making pro throw after pro throw into tight windows. He has the intangibles such as leadership skills.

With that said, I do not think he is the right fit for the Jets. Sanchez is still learning the game. He only made 16 starts in college and was inconsistent in them. He still had not fully conquered the speed and complexity of the college game. Moving up another level and becoming the starter right off the bat might overwhelm Mark. With the Jets, he would have to be the starter almost immediately. If this team invests first round money in Sanchez, it has decided to give him the keys for the next four to five years and would expect a lot from him in short time. Considering the learning curve, this would be incredibly risky.  If the Jets miss on Kellen Clemens, Erik Ainge, and Brett Ratliff, they can look to address the position a year from now. All they will have lost is one season. If Sanchez cannot handle being a starter, the Jets will have thrown four years into the toilet.

Sanchez's best bet is to go somewhere where there will be no pressure to play right off the bat, and he will be groomed as the guy of the future, not the present. He needs to study complex playbooks and film. His reps should be in practice, not in the intensity of games as he learns and hones his craft. Observing the speed of the NFL from the sidelines for a few years instead of playing the role of savior is his best bet for success. He is not finished enough as a product to roll the dice on.

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