Team Leader. Rocket Arm. Dead Accurate. The USC Quarterback.
These are the thoughts that jump into my head when thinking about former USC QB, Mark Sanchez.
Sounds pretty good.
As Sanchez and many other college studs are preparing for the NFL Combine and working hard for the NFL Draft, there seem to be many questions looming about Sanchez and his potential.
With only one year as a true starter for USC, NFL executives are worried that he could have been a one-hit wonder at SC and concerned with the fact that they don’t have enough evidence on his game potential.
One person who spoke publicly about his disagreement with Sanchez leaving early was USC head coach Pete Carroll. He argued that the stats were out there – Sanchez would have a huge disadvantage.
But, I looked at it in a completely different way. With many factors leaning towards him, the biggest was the fact that he had the talent. He’s got the game.
Although he was only the starter for one year, I feel Mark Sanchez will be an instant NFL success for multiple reasons.
One of the benefits of playing at USC is that you get the familiarity of the “pro-style” offense. And there is no better pro-style offense than the one at USC.
By playing in that pro style offense throughout college, Sanchez is already a step ahead of many of the other quarterbacks in the draft. Although it seems like it wouldn’t be a huge factor, it is. Playing in a spread offense, or a certain system offense, leads to a steep learning curve for players once drafted in the NFL. (See Colt Brennan of Hawaii)
Because of his college system, Mark Sanchez won’t have to adjust as much to the team’s offense and style when making the transition.
However, we have seen some struggle in the NFL, even though they were brought up in the pro-style offense. Matt Leinart was drafted 10th in the 2006 NFL Draft, and has yet to show potential for success. But that can be attributed to other factors, like his s-l-o-w release and constant, stirring rumors of a lack of work ethic.
Mark Sanchez, on the other hand, has the qualities to succeed in the NFL.
Apart from his size, and a unique kind of leadership he brings, Sanchez will bring his rare arm qualities: a strong and extremely accurate arm—while putting one of the nicest touches on the ball I’ve seen in years.
When in the pocket, Sanchez feels very comfortable and doesn’t panic. When in trouble, he has great pocket awareness and has decent mobility for his size, and has the ability to throw well on the run.
With the increased speed at the NFL level, not all of his game will transition equally. The defenses are faster, and the game is just at a higher speed. It’s a matter of adjusting the right way; and Mark Sanchez will do just that.
Upon arriving with a new team, Sanchez will be called upon to be the leader. With his instinctual leaderships skills, he will eventually develop chemistry with the players that will be needed for success.
Once Sanchez is able to garner some playing time, he will need to fix the inconsistency that he developed while at USC. We saw flashes of brilliance, but those flashes were encompassed among some poor efforts, as well.
Although Sanchez only started at USC for one season, he grew tenfold throughout the year. He had success in the first two games (Virginia, Ohio State) but had a frustrating loss at Oregon State, while finishing with a dominating effort in the Rose Bowl.
One can even argue that the loss was probably better for him in the long run. Because of it, we can see that he can “bounce-back” from negative situations with ease, as he was throwing strikes again the next week.
Mark Sanchez’s collegiate career culminated at the Rose Bowl. We all saw that performance in Pasadena against the Nittany Lions of Penn State.
He was able to fork through the Top-10 defense of Penn State effortlessly, throwing for over 400 yards, four touchdowns, and getting honored with the Rose Bowl Offensive MVP award.
It seemed like in the biggest games and under the biggest spotlight, Sanchez looked most impressive.
That’s probably a pretty good quality to have throughout the drafting process.
There’s no question that Mark Sanchez is very polished at this point of his career. Saying he had a successful season, while tearing up defenses week by week is an understatement. He destroyed them.
He is fresh off the single greatest game of his career.
His God-given attributes and size are at the pro level.
But most of all, he is committed. His work ethic is like nothing I have seen before. But at the same time, he always remains calm, cool, and relaxed.
Those qualities cannot be taught.
Mark Sanchez is ready to go. For a team that is looking for a franchise quarterback in this year’s draft—and doesn’t want to pay the 15 million for Matt Cassell—Mark Sanchez is your man.
To the executives of the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Francisco 49ers:
So what if he only played one full season of collegiate football. Mark Sanchez is the player you want. If you are looking for someone to turnaround your franchise and someone you really want to invest your club in, Sanchez is the perfect man.
He has the skills. And he has the mind. What else can you ask for?
Yea, you can snag a star offensive tackle in Andre Smith or Eugene Monroe. They will probably not let you down. Or, you can grab a player that could be the cornerstone of your offense, the icon of your city, and the foundation ofyour team for the next 10-plus years.
So you’re on the clock, Detroit Lions. It’s your choice to take him. If I had any say in it, I would try to articulate in any way that he is worth everypenny of that $70 million contract.
But, hold on. Maybe Sanchez doesn’t even want to go to the declining city of Detroit, and rather a city like San Francisco that has a lot of potential. But that’s an article for a different time…
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