Survey Says Sanchez
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Three talented and young quarterbacks -- Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman - were taken in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. Creating expectations for first round draft choices in the National Football League is as common today as selfish wide receivers and super sizing the expectations for a first round quarterback is the norm. Unfortunately, the hit-miss ratio on top selected quarterbacks over the past 20 years is roughly one in two. For every Peyton Manning there is a Ryan Leaf, for every Donovan McNabb there is an Akili Smith and Tim Couch. For every QB who was brought on slowly and succeeded (Carson Palmer) there are quarterbacks who were brought on slowly and failed (Todd Marinovich). There appears to be no set formula for picking and developing players for the toughest position-in sports, yet when the history of the 2009 draft is written, odds are that one of the three will fail, one will succeed and one will just hang on. The question then is which one and why.
Typically quarterbacks who succeed early are blessed with a veteran heavy team, a solid offensive line and running game and tenured coaches. A rookie quarterback with a rookie coach on young team is a recipe for disaster. Another important indicator of a young quarterback's success is whether he can make the jump from college to the pros seamlessly and quickly. Is he both physically and mentally ready to play with and against the best athletes in the world? Can he handle four years worth of college plays thrown at him in his first season? Often this has a lot to do with where the player played his collegiate football and what type of offensive system he ran.
This year, the three quarterbacks are all wonderfully talented but will have to battle different obstacles on their journey to NFL stardom. Sanchez appears to have the edge for immediate success in the NFL based upon the above criteria. He played his college ball at USC running a pro style offense with a strong offensive line and numerous skill position players. Freeman and Stafford played in spread offenses. The Jets are also the strongest and most established of the three teams. The Lions were 0-16 last year and the Bucs are in a re-building mold with a new, young head coach and front office and $30 million in salary cap room. Which of the three will have the best career is unknown, but Sanchez has the best chance to start this year and be successful.
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