Thursday, April 2, 2009


The consensus at USC on Wednesday was that Sanchez had an excellent performance in front of a full house that included NFL scouts and coaches, family and friends, and even a few fans in the stands. He showed balance, solid footwork and most importantly, accuracy on all of his throws. He estimated that he threw about 80 passes — a strong number for a pro day workout. “I think he showed better arm strength than people generally give him,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “He’s not Stafford, he’s not [Kansas State's Josh] Freeman; but his arm is every bit as good as Matt Ryan’s. And as Matt Ryan showed this year, when you’re accurate and you show good anticipation, a good arm is good enough. That’s what Matt is, and that’s what Mark Sanchez is. What he showed is consistency.” The caveat, of course, is that quarterbacks better look good at their pro day. “I’ve never seen a guy not complete 99.9 percent of his passes against air,” one general manager commented.

Mandel's Take: That last comment is a perfect summation of how the Pro Day should be viewed. Not that I don't believe Sanchez can be a successful NFL quarterback; I do. The point is, with everything set up perfectly for him, how could he NOT look good? Sadly for these players, the NFL doesn't allow you to set things up when it comes time know, actual games. The former Trojan, as mentioned above, doesn't have a canon arm like some of the other signal-callers in the Draft. However, he DOES possess something Stafford doesn't, and that's gumption. Sanchez isn't going to be a world beater, but he can certainly be a solid pro for several seasons. And that's the thing about this Draft; just because he and Stafford are the top-two quarterbacks doesn't mean they're Franchise guys. The class just happens to be a bit weaker than it has been and some teams are being fooled into believing these two guys are Franchise guys. They aren't. Not in my mind, anyway. Rev, you may disagree with me on this--testify.

Mancini's Take: Amen to that, Brother Ross. This quarterback class is pretty weak. Sanchez has most of the physical qualities that you're looking for in a quarterback, but I don't view him as being a surefire franchise player. He didn't show me enough consistency in college. I think both Sanchez and Freeman are developmental types. Stafford, in my mind, is the one passer who offers me the most assurances in terms of his arm strength, accuracy and his ability to scan the field. The former Georgia Bulldog is the only one I would invest heavily in with a top-15 pick.There's a reason why USC head coach Pete Carroll advised Sanchez to stick around for another year. I don't think he's ready to start from day one despite his mobility and fine mechanics. He looked great at times beating the blitz in college, but to me he didn't do it often enough. He's a work in progress.

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee (USC)