NFL Draft Analysis: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC Trojans

by Trent Lujin on April 21, 2009 @ 01:00:00 PDT

 


University of Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez will forgo his senior season and has entered his name into the 2009 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-2 1/8, 227 pounds, his size translates well enough at the next level. In his lone year as a starter, he threw for 3,207 yards and 34 touchdowns. The 34 touchdowns are the second best single-season total in school history, behind only quarterback Matt Leinart's 38 in 2003.

Sanchez, against the well-publicized wishes of USC head coach Pete Carroll, opted for the draft but failed to "wow" scouts at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine. He was slightly erratic but showed to be the best of the bunch with University of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford electing to not participate in the combine drills.

At his April 1 Pro Day, Sanchez was brilliant in front of an NFL executive-laden crowd. His draft stock was solidified at this point, according to many scouts.

Strengths

  • Capable of making any NFL throw
  • Throws a very catchable ball that is put in places where only his receivers can get them
  • His anticipation is uncanny - Sanchez regularly releases the ball before his receiver breaks his route, which leaves the defender little time to react
  • Extremely accurate passer out of the pocket on the run
  • Good pocket awareness and ability to escape
  • A great leader, hard worker
  • Intelligent; reads defenses well after playing in a pro-style offense
  • Judicious with the ball and doesn't take a lot of unnecessary chances

Weaknesses

  • Lack of experience as a starter (16 games)
  • How much did he benefit from superior talent around him?
  • Streaky - touchdowns come in bunches
  • Injury concerns after a broken thumb and dislocated kneecap
  • Is he benefiting from a weak senior class at quarterback?
  • Played in the defensively weak Pac-10

Expected draft placement

Sanchez has vaulted himself into the first half of the first round and probably into the top five or seven picks. The St. Louis Rams hold the No. 2 pick and will likely field a lot of offers on draft day from teams looking to move into that spot to select Sanchez. There is an outside chance Sanchez could go to the Rams. We feel, if he is available, the Seattle Seahawks take him at No. 4 overall.

Other teams potentially looking to draft Sanchez includes the Cleveland Browns (No. 5), Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 8), San Francisco 49ers (No. 10), Denver Broncos (No. 12), Washington Redskins (No. 13) and New York Jets (No. 17). We feel any team after No. 3 (Kansas City Chiefs) better be ready to trade up of they want Sanchez as their man.

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About Trent Lujin

Lujin has been a KFFL contributor since 2008.

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