Can Mark Sanchez Make His Mark In The NFL?

Are you kidding me? After just one full year as a starter and a total of 16 starts as a college football quarterback, Mark Sanchez is going to enter the NFL draft. Does this sound like a good idea? Does it sound like he’s ready? Is this going to be yet another superstar college quarterback who quickly fades into obscurity in the NFL? Possibly. But you never know, and there are some good reasons to go pro at this point anyhow.

For one, Sanchez is projected to go first or second amongst quarterbacks, which of course means big time money. I mean, everyone in the NFL makes big time money, but you don’t want to get taken low in the draft and cost yourself tens of millions of dollars over the coming years. Sanchez will get drafted high enough to make the really big bucks it would appear..

His stock went way up when the three college quarterbacks who were finalists for the Heisman Trophy last season — Bradford, 2007 winner Tim Tebow of Florida and Colt McCoy of Texas — had already announced that they were returning to their schools for another season. You can be certain that if these quarterbacks had entered the draft, Sanchez would be a Trojan next year.

Lastly, he’s trained under the best. Although he only started 16 games at quarterback for USC, he spent several years watching and learning from guys like Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and John David Booty. And did I mention the coaching of Pete Carroll? So after years in a great program under the guidance of great coaches and players, a great season, and an especially great Rose Bowl, Sanchez should do just fine, right? Oh, not so fast. There are some serious concerns here.

With the luxury of playing behind one of the top teams in the country, and playing a relatively easy schedule compared with the likes of a BIG12 or SEC schedule, Sanchez may have been in a position where it was going to be harder to fail than to succeed at USC. He played solid, but that’s all he needed to do. He hasn’t dealt with the incredible scrutiny and pressure that comes with playing for the National Championship, and he certainly hasn’t seen anything like the scrutiny and pressure he’ll face in the NFL.

He has also announced that he will be hiring his brother Nick Sanchez as his agent. Oh boy….here we go. Is this a scary proposition? His brother has no experience as a sports agent whatsoever, although he was a quarterback at Yale, earned his law degree at USC, and works as a business litigator for Theodora Oringher Miller & Richman in Costa Mesa. According to the Orange County Business Journal, “Mark is the first client of Nick’s new sports consultancy at the law firm.” However, at least David Dunn, an experienced agent who represents Carson Palmer, will be retained as an adviser. Smart move there for sure. That alone may avert disaster to some degree.

I just don’t agree with the move – and neither does Pete Carroll, Sanchez’s USC teamates, many NFL scouts and GM’s, and most of the fans that answered the question in various polls. But many of the most successful NFL quarterbacks were far from being projected superstars, and many that were – well, most of us don’t know where they disappeared to. So as always, time will tell. But personally, I have to give the decision a thumbs down. It may work out fine for him, but that would be in spite of much evidence to the contrary.

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