High Draft Picks and the Perception of Mark Sanchez


Aug 26, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) during the second half of their game against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Jets 17-12. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

We go back to a subject that continues to be a public discussion in New York. That subject? Our embattled starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez. We have talked a lot about him in the past weeks, as his development is a major topic of discussion. Can he be the guy to lead this team? Is he good enough? Despite the fact that he has shown vast improvements so far this preseason, there are still a whole group of fans that aren’t buying in. “He can’t carry this team.” “He will never take this team further.” It goes on and on.

One point a reader made to me got me thinking. A reader told me that Mark Sanchez won’t win any support in NY until he lives up to his draft pick. As we know, the Jets traded up in 2009 to take Mark Sanchez with the fifth pick overall. And the reader is right, that does come with expectations. The reader was implying that Sanchez has not lived up to those expectations.

So, it is high time to go for a history lesson. Turn the page, and we go back to 1990, and look at all the quarterbacks from then until now, excluding the 2012 draft, that have been picked either at #5 or higher.

1990-Jeff George 1993-Drew Bledsoe, Rick Mirer 1994-Heath Shuler 1995-Steve McNair, Kerry Collins 1998-Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf 1999-Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith 2001-Michael Vick 2002-David Carr, Joey Harrington 2003-Carson Palmer 2004-Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers 2005-Alex Smith 2006-Vince Young 2007-Jamarcus Russell 2008-Matt Ryan 2009-Matthew Stafford 2010-Sam Bradford 2011-Cam Newton

Now obviously, I am not saying that Mark Sanchez is the best player on this list. Far from it, with Peyton Manning and Eli Manning on the list, although at the same points in their career Mark Sanchez has better stats than Eli did. However, there are a whole bunch of names on this list, that have not even been close to as good as Mark Sanchez. Right off the bat, I would take Mark over David Carr, Joey Harrington, Vince Young, Heath Shuler, and Rick Mirer. That doesn’t even cover the whole list.

And remember, nobody on this list has had the road playoff success that Mark Sanchez had in his first two years.

More on the perception of Mark Sanchez on page 3.

The big talk is also about whether or not Mark Sanchez can/will become an elite QB. Can he become a top 10 quarterback in this league? We could debate this from now until the end of the season. That’s not the point. The point is, for the Jets to win, HE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A TOP 10 QB.

Aug 26, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Met Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

We have to face the facts about Mark Sanchez. He isn’t Aaron Rodgers. He isn’t Drew Brees. He isn’t Peyton Manning. If you go into watching the Jets season expecting to have that type of quarterback, you are guaranteed to be disappointed.

You don’t need an elite quarterback to win the big one. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl title with the Ravens in 2000. Would you take Mark Sanchez over Trent Dilfer? I would. Rex Grossman went to a Super Bowl with the Bears. We ALL would take Mark Sanchez over Rex Grossman.

All quarterbacks are not going to have the skill set of an Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning. You make your quarterback successful by creating a system and a team that brings out his skill set. With Mark Sanchez, his best skills were prominent when the Jets had a dominating running attack. He could run play action off of it, designed rollouts, and things of that nature.

The offensive line broke down in 2011, so it hurt Mark. The running game was nowhere near what it once was, and that rolled over into the passing game.

Leave Mark Sanchez alone, and let him play. Give him a good line, a good running game, and he will be just fine.