The debate is about to begin.
Who is going to have the better pro career: Mark Sanchez or Matthew Stafford? I'm not sure if there has been a bigger debate about two quarterbacks since Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf were drafted No. 1 and 2 in 1998. We all know how that turned out.
Let's look at several attributes.
1) Physical Makeup
Matthew Stafford - Height 6'2 1/4 Weight 225 Lbs
Mark Sanchez - Height 6'2 11/8 Weight 228 Lbs
Obviously they are very similar in height and weight. No particular advantage for either there. Stafford may a have little bit stronger arm of the two.
Neither Stafford or Sanchez will wow you with their mobility, though they are both mobile enough, and it won't be an issue with them in the NFL.
Advantage - Draw: To Close to call here. Physically they are as close as two quarterbacks can be.
2) College Pedigree
Matthew Stafford played with the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. The Dawgs were one of the top teams in the SEC during Stafford's career. Stafford played in front of rabid fans, for and against him. He's no stranger to high pressure games and went 27-7 as a starter at UGA.
Under Coach Marc Richt, the Dawgs have produced um well, exactly zero NFL starting quarterbacks. David Greene, drafted in 2005, is already out the of the NFL. DJ Shockley is in the Atlanta, but he's not going to beat out Matt Ryan.
Mark Sanchez played with the USC Trojans, where they are producing NFL caliber quarterbacks at a rate not seen since the 1980s Miami Hurricanes.
Carson Palmer, Matt Leinhart, Matt Cassel have either started or are the starting quarterbacks on their respective teams.
No college team runs a more pure NFL offense than the USC Trojans and coach Pete Carroll and the USC Trojans are not only one of the best Pac-10 teams, they are among the best teams in the country every single year.
Advantage - Sanchez: If you can start at USC, it's a good bet you can play the NFL. Heck you don't even have to start at USC, just be there, ask Matt Cassel.
3) Team they will play for
Matt Stafford is headed to quarterback Sibera. Quick name a pro bowl quarterback from Detroit. You have to back to 1972, and Greg Landry to find one.
Stafford signed a six-year, $78 million deal that includes $41.7 million guaranteed. That's the largest ever contract by NFL draft pick.
Going to a team that didn't win a game last year, that's an an awful lot of pressure on a young quarterback, because once Duante Culpepper is benched by game 4, Stafford will be look upon as a savior. At least he has Calvin Johnson to throw to.
Mark Sanchez is headed to the New York Jets. I think this is a super fit. Big Media Market? Sanchez came from Los Angeles. An aging Brett Farve led the Jets to the brink of the playoffs with a 9-7 record, and while the offense isn't made up of superstars, there is solid talent there.
RB Thomas Jones, RB Leon Washington and Jerricho Crotchery are very capable NFL players. It's hard to say at the moment whether Sanchez, Kellen Clemons, or somebody else starts on opening day, but given the rest of the Jets' roster, Sanchez won't have to do it alone.
Advantage - Sanchez: Sanchez will be under a media blitz in New York, but playing at USC and Los Angeles he's equipped to handle to this. Stafford will have so much pressure on him to win in Detroit the next 2-3 years, it might be more than he can handle.
Overall - Sanchez: With the physical attributes virtually equal, Stafford is walking into a more difficult situation with Detroit. Sanchez's collegiate background is a huge advantage as well.
This doesn't mean Stafford can't be a fine NFL QB, I just think Sanchez has been prepped better for the rigors of the NFL.
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