Mark Sanchez: Putting a Face to the Franchise

Trish BennettContributor IApril 26, 2009

The New York Jets, to put it mildly, had horrid luck with quarterbacks during the 2008 season.

Brett Favre, who, last summer,  the Jets chased like an enamored teenaged girl going after one of the Jonas Brothers, crumbled by the end of the season. 

Chad Pennington, who was unceremoniously dumped once Favre came on, went down to Miami and turned the abysmal Dolphins into AFC East champs.

Favre retired (again) and the Jets were left with Kellen Clemens—whose 2007 performance in the wake of Pennington's benching left much to be desired—Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge.  They tried to put a good face on the situation, but no one was buying it.

Still it came somewhat as a surprise yesterday when the Jets traded draft picks (and Ratliff among others) to the Cleveland Browns in order to nab the USC quarterback, Mark Sanchez, with the fifth pick.  Then again, the pick makes perfect sense for a beleaguered franchise who tends to get buried under news of their more glamorous stadium mates, the Giants.

Sanchez is good-looking and articulate, certainly more media friendly than his NFC counterpart Eli Manning.  He'll look good on billboards and in commercials.  As far as his football skills go, it did not go unnoticed that the Jets raved about his charisma and smarts and leadership skills, but nothing about his arm.

Is this Chad Pennington take two?  Are the Jets finally realizing, as Pennington once put it, that it does no good to be able to throw a football through a wall if you don't know which wall to throw it through?

Without having played a down in the NFL, Mark Sanchez just became the face of the Jets and perhaps the face of pro football in New York, already having been nicknamed "Jose Namath." 

Matthew Stafford may have gone No. 1, but Sanchez has the much higher expectations placed on him. 

I hope someone gave him Eli Manning's phone number.