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Jets Trade Up and Nab QB Sanchez

Well, that was pretty exciting.

The Jets pulled off a trade Saturday with the Cleveland Browns and drafted USC quarterback Mark Sanchez with the No. 5 overall selection in the NFL draft.  The cost?  A swap of first-round picks (No. 17 overall), a second-round pick (No. 52), and quarterback Brett Ratliff, safety Abram Elam and defensive end Kenyon Coleman.

I gotta tell ya, I wasn't pleased with this move at all.  I don't think the Jets gave up a ton to move up.  In fact, I think new Browns head coach Eric Mangini didn't ask for enough in the trade (thanks, big guy).  I'm also not a great evaluator of college football talent and Sanchez was receiving his fair share of praise in the weeks leading up to the draft.  But the draft has become a marketing campaign (and probably always was) and I'm wary of a player who gets "hot" during the hype show.  Still, Sanchez obviously has talent to be considered a high first-round pick, right?  Here's a quick look at some of Sanchez's strengths and weaknesses courtesy of Scouts Inc.:


Release.  Very quick release with solid overall mechanics in his delivery. Gets rid of the ball quickly, particularly when needed on underneath throws. Shows strong hands and great ball control. Exceptional when it comes to pump-faking and pulling the ball back.

Mobility.  Very good pocket presence. Really improved in this area as a junior. Displays quick feet. Gets set quickly and shows agility to avoid the initial rush. Will step up in the pocket and also shows the foot speed to out-run the rush to the perimeter. Is a better athlete than appeared most of junior season, when he was battling a lingering knee injury.

Accuracy.  Sanchez's deep ball tends to float on occasion.  Sanchez is more consistently accurate in the short-to-intermediate zones, particularly between the numbers. He displays very good touch. Gets the ball out quickly and throws a 'catchable' ball on quick-hitters. Knows how to drop the ball in between linebackers and safeties. Rarely misses an open target.


Game management.  Inexperience is concerning. Still learning the nuances of the position and approach to leading an offensive unit. Still maturing as a decision maker, as well. However, he made noticeable strides in this regard as a junior in 2008. He understands the value of ball control and knows how to go through progression reads. He is a vocal leader with exceptional passion for the game. Coaches rave about his work ethic. He is tough and will play through pain. An excellent competitor.

Arm strength.  Arm strength is adequate but not great. He can make all the necessary throws in the NFL but he needs to be good with his timing on certain throws vertically and outside the numbers. Gets good zip on intermediate throws, especially over the middle. But can't drive it vertically and his deep outs take a bit too long to arrive.

Durability.  Has been hindered by some nagging injuries but has not missed a start, as a result of one. Suffered a broken thumb early in 2007 season. Played through a dislocated kneecap injury in 2008, which he suffered during fall camp. Also suffered a bone bruise in his left knee during '08 Oregon game but played the following week versus Arizona State.

Seems like a solid player.  Does it sound like a franchise quarterback?  I don't know.  In fact, I don't even know what that term means -- franchise quarterback.  Sounds like something invented by advertisers and television people.  How can anyone call someone a franchise quarterback before that player has taken one snap in an NFL game?  With a straight face?  A franchise quarterback isn't a term you give someone -- it's a status you earn.

Anyway, the Jets fell in love with Sanchez and decided he was too good to pass up.  I might be in the minority, but I don't think Sanchez will begin the season as the starter.  Kellen Clemens knows the system and I have to assume that he will do a better job of running the offense during the preseason.  But you know what they say about assuming.  And the Jets didn't take Sanchez with the No. 5 overall pick with the idea of watching him hold a clip board.  It would be easy to send Sanchez out there if the team was terrible, but this squad actually has some talent.

Which brings up another point.  Are the Jets a win-now team or a rebuilding team?  Seems like they're doing a little of both.  Hope that's the right idea.  One thing is for sure, the Jets don't believe in Clemens.

If you asked me -- "Hey, Mike, who did you want the Jets to draft?" -- I probably would have given you two answers.  I would have selected Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree after the trade up to No. 5.  If they decided to stand pat at No. 17, I would have gone with running back Chris "Beanie" Wells out of Ohio State (since running back Knowshon Moreno was off the board).  But nobody asked.  Maybe next year. 

The Jets pulled off another trade on the draft's second day -- unloading their third-round pick (No. 76 overall), their fourth-round pick (No. 115) and their seventh-round pick (No. 228) for Iowa running back Shonn Greene.  That's a boatload of picks, but I like the selection.  With Thomas Jones unhappy with his contract status and Leon Washington not really an every down back, Greene gives them some power in the backfield.  Greene (5'10, 227), rushed for a school-record 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior last season.  Here's a quick scouting report on Greene courtesy of Scout.com's Chris Steuber via my subscription to Jets Confidential:

Greene is a strong runner who possesses a unique blend of athleticism, intelligence, patience and quickness. He's extremely patient and uses his vision and instincts to his advantage. He waits for his blockers to set up in front of him, hiding between the trees, finds openings within the defense and is elusive. He runs low to the ground and displays great balance.

Sounds good to me.

The Jets selected Nebraska guard Matt Slauson in the sixth round, their final pick of the draft.  Yes, you read that right.  The Jets went with quality over quantity and had just three picks in this year's draft.  Anyway, Slauson (6'5, 316) also played both tackle positions during his college career.  He should provide some depth along the line and has "pet project" written all over him.

So, were the Jets winners or losers in the 2009 draft? 

Check back in a few years.
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[April 30, 2009 9:15 AM]  |  link  |  Reply
Bert said

I'm not buying a #6 jersey just yet but I'm thrilled that the JETS are being aggressive and taking some risks. I would bet the farm that sanchez starts. big pick, big money and huge marketability means huge pressure from ownership to get him, on the field. not to mention coming off a season when the falcons and ravens both had a huge season on the shoulders of rookies. ryan saw first hand in baltimore and i'm sure they think any offensive mistakes will be carried by a new stout rex ryan defense. I like the the RB draft and i agree with you that they need a receiver to stretch the field. let's hope they can make a trade/ i like braylon edwards(i know you're not much of a fan). i certainly would'nt mind boldin but i seriously doubt that one.

[April 30, 2009 10:52 AM]  |  link  |  Reply
Mike said

But if you draft a guy with the No. 5 overall pick, you expect him to be an elite quarterback. You don't expect him to just manage the game. And the only reason Flacco started for the Ravens last season was because Troy Smith came down with tonsillitis. Ryan had a great year for the surprising Falcons, but that doesn't happen very often.

I hope I'm wrong, but I have the feeling that Sanchez will be all sizzle and no steak for the Jets.

[May 20, 2009 9:12 AM]  |  link  |  Reply
Bert said

You're right you do expect him to be an elite QB and as far as I can tell The Jets expect that of Sanchez. Just because I think the teams all copy cat each other doesn't mean I don't think they made a sound decision before drafting Sanchez. Of course the proof is in the pudding and that will be determined when he plays but I like the Jets taking some chances and trying to get a guy that they think will play well.

[May 20, 2009 11:37 AM]  |  link  |  Reply
Mike said

I hope the Jets think all the guys they get will play well. And we shall see how this works out, Umberto. We shall see ...

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