January 20, 2009

Mark Sanchez is a top 10 pick?

Quick trivia question:

What do the following schools have in common?

Miami (Ohio)
Northern Iowa

Those were your four colleges that the four quarterbacks in the AFC and NFC Championship Games attended. A fledgling BCS school, a mid-major, and two D-IAA schools.

So what does that have to do with Mark Sanchez?? Because with that information in mind, I don't see how any team is talking about taking about taking Mark Sanchez with a top 10 pick this year. What is so exciting about this guy to NFL teams?? I haven't seen anything out of him in the last couple years to give me any indication that he has a bright future as an NFL quarterback. Everything about him screams "serviceable." He has an "ok" arm, he has a great line and running game and a great defense so he's never really had the pressure of having to put the team on his back, and he's already had knee problems. Haven't we already been through this same scenario with Matt Leinart?? Playing QB at USC is as high-profile as it comes in COLLEGE FOOTBALL, but it's not some guarantee that you are going to be a very good NFL quarterback. If he didn't play for USC, I don't think anyone would be talking about this guy.

And yet he's being discussed as a top 10 pick and maybe even the #1 pick. Color me nervous if I was a Lions fan. I'm not advocating that teams should shy away from big school quarterbacks or anything, but I do think that teams should be looking at them with a critical eye to make sure that they are not being propped up by a talented supporting cast. It seems like a lot of the good QBs these days are coming out of random programs where the QB had to throw the team on his back and maybe didn't have the greatest lines in front of him. A guy like Jay Cutler had to face SEC defenses week in and week out with a Vanderbilt line. Same for Matt Ryan. I remember going to the ND-BC game last year, and he had to make a lot of difficult throws under some heavy pressure (even from ND's lousy d-line). If you had to carry your team in college, it's not a huge of leap of faith to assume that they can do it in the NFL. A guy like Sanchez never gets touched, so who knows how he'll look when he's playing with the Lions' o-line and has Justin Tuck bearing down on him in the pocket.

I feel bad for the Lions by the way. There are so many possible busts in this draft that I feel like there is almost no way they don't blow this pick.

I can't blame Sanchez for going pro though. The guy put in his four years at USC and is projected to be a top 10 pick. Go to the league and get paid. I don't even consider it to be "leaving early" if you were at a school for four years. If the school decides to redshirt you to preserve your eligibility, that's their problem. A player doesn't owe it to the school to stay for a fifth year in college, especially if he already graduated from the school.

That's what I think it was bizarre for Pete Carroll to come out publicly and bash Sanchez for making the decision to go pro. That's absolute garbage if you ask me. It's his life!! Even if Pete genuinely doesn't think that Sanchez is ready for the NFL, I still don't think it's even remotely fair to Sanchez for Carroll to publicly question him after the guy has put in four years at your program. It's not like he was a redshirt sophomore or a true junior and you just think he's too young or whatever to go pro. He's a top 10 pick, and you gotta strike while your value is high. I don't think Sanchez is a great pro prospect, but I'm not an NFL GM. If someone wants to take him that high, get to the league.

Pete Carroll is a competitive guy, so I can see why he's upset that he's losing a starting QB from a loaded team that would have been one of the favorites for the BCS title game next year. Now they have a new QB who might have some growing pains and trip up somewhere on the road (ND?). But to take shots at Sanchez and pout at his press conference once the guy has already made his decision is poor form if you ask me. That handshake at the press conference was the sorriest excuse for a handshake I've ever seen. I don't care if you think the guy is going to be the biggest bust in the history of the NFL. He just won the Rose Bowl for you. Show him some appreciation for giving four years to the Trojan program.

Should be interesting to see who emerges out of this USC qb derby. I'm assuming that Mitch Mustain will be the frontrunner, but a lot of the USC people seem to really like this Aaron Corp guy. He's got a little more mobility. Then again, true freshman Matt Barkley was the #1 high school quarterback in the country, so maybe he'll work his way into the rotation when he gets on campus.

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