A pair of ESPN analysts debated the top quarterback from the 2009 Draft class, but Mark Sanchez was not part of the discussion.
John Clayton likes Josh Freeman:
Freeman was a 10-game winner in his first full season as a starter. Although Sanchez has gone to two title games in two years, Freeman is the quarterback with the better stats and the better chance to advance to the ranks of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Kevin Seifert likes Matthew Stafford:
For those who missed it, Stafford had the NFL's best passer rating against the blitz at the time of his season-ending injury. His fourth-quarter passer rating was 109.9, good for second in the NFL at the time, and he had a 104.4 rating on third down. Finally, he threw 88 of his 96 passes from the pocket.
There is very little thus far to justify putting Stafford ahead of Sanchez. Stafford's numbers are not better, and he has shown questionable durability. I can understand giving Freeman an edge after the great season he just had. Numbers do not tell the entire story, though. While there is no question he has had by far the best supporting cast of the three which has carried him to a certain extent, Sanchez has developed a real track record as a big game quarterback. He has been excellent in the Playoffs. Freeman's least productive games in 2010 came against Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and a pair against Atlanta. He was very good against the Saints Week 17 to be fair.
Sanchez has been kind of a unique guy during his career because he has been inconsistent but has saved some of his best games for the biggest spots. The thing to remember is he had much less starting experience entering the league. He came in very raw. It sounds cliche, but an ability to thrive when the lights are brightest cannot be taught. I think it is fair to argue that Sanchez has a chance to end up as the top dog from this group one day.