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Prospecting the Draft: Prospect #1 - QB Mark Sanchez

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A nice thing about SBNation and its 188 blogs are the tremendous reports we can get from writers privy to specific players and situations. Today, we take a closer look at former USC QB Mark Sanchez courtesy of some sites that know him best. Conquest Chronicles was kind enough to provide me with their breakdown of Mark and his prospects as an NFL quarterback:

Mark Sanchez is a gunslinger type QB. He is big kid at 6' 3" and has a cannon for an arm. the bigger question was in his decision making and not his talent or skill. Sanchez sometimes forces throws. He has pretty good mobility and throws well on the run without winding up. Can move left and right. A very clean and fast delivery. He runs around a 4.7 40. He could use more experience but this was time to come out with the QB selection this year smaller than it will be next season.

He is the true leader of the USC offense. Players naturally gravitated to him, looking for guidance on and off the field

Having started only 16 games in his career of which 13 came this past season against a down Pac-10, he showed just how well he could work in a pro-style offense. He started the season with a dislocated knee cap but he made a quick recovery leading SC to some great wins against UVA and Ohio State.

He had some down games against Arizona St. and Arizona but he absolutely torched the Washington schools. He also torched Norte Dame and had a gritty performance against UCLA where he was battered by a number of late hits but he kept on getting up. The Icing on the cake was when he carved up Penn St. in the Rose Bowl...they gave the USC receivers more than enough cushion for Sanchez to use the receivers speed to race up and down the field.

I think if he is able to carry the clip-board for a couple of years that he could be a great pro QB. the problem is if he is forced that could be detrimental to his career as the numbers have shown young, inexperienced qb's who don't get time develop have a tough time being successful.

Our friends over at Mocking the Draft also have a writeup on Sanchez:

Mark Sanchez

6'3, 225 pounds | Southern California | Quarterback

Strengths: Sanchez is probably the most intelligent quarterback in this year's class. Playing out of USC's pro-style offense, Sanchez excelled at reading defenses and properly going through his progressions. Is always looking around on the whole field, keeping his face mask square with the line of scrimmage. Good arm strength to make just about any NFL throw. Put passes in good spots for receivers to make easy catches. Accurate passer when he's moving to either the left or the right. Probably a good fit for the West Coast offense because he doesn't have great arm strength. Has quick feet to get into position to make throws. Makes quick decisions and is a smart player. Team captain as a junior.

Weaknesses: Sanchez' release is a windup, slow release. It's not as bad as former Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson, but it's similar. Does he have the size? Only 225 pounds, Sanchez needs to get bigger to handle getting hit in the NFL. Prone to some inconsistency. Had 22 touchdowns in six of his games. Still developing as a quarterback. Only started one full season and was injured at the start of the year. Started 16 games total. Has some injury and character questions. Was arrested but not charged with sexual assault in 2006. Before the 2008 season, Sanchez suffered a dislocated kneecap.

Final word:
Of late, there is a poor track record for underclassmen quarterbacks in the draft with Vince Young and Alex Smith. Teams will have to do their due diligence with Sanchez. He certainly has the tools and makeup to be an NFL quarterback, but he's still not a completely proven commodity. May have to learn for his first year or two, which could make him slide some. Was urged by USC coach Pete Carroll to return for his senior season, but still decided to leave early.

Round projection: 1

No doubt, Sanchez could be an intriguing prospect for the Buccaneers at 19, as the Bucs continue their never-ending quest to find their elusive franchise QB. It's tough to gauge him, as he's only started 16 career games. He's played against what many would consider some defensively challenged teams in the Pac-10. That said, he's looked amazing at times and blew up a solid Penn State defense in the Rose Bowl with laser-like precision. His career completion percentage is above the 60% watermark and he has a sterling TD/INT ratio. Here are his career numbers:

Passing Stats
YEAR TEAM CMP ATT PCT YDS AVG TD LNG INT RAT
2006 USC 3 7 42.9 63 9.0 0 22 1 89.89
2007 USC 69 114 60.5 695 6.1 7 48 5 123.22
2008 USC 241 366 65.8 3207 8.8 34 63 10 164.64
Rushing Stats
YEAR TEAM ATT YDS AVG LNG TD FD FUM LOST
2006 USC 4 -5 -1.3 4 1 0 0 0
2007 USC 14 22 1.6 11 0 0 0 0
2008 USC 52 16 0.3 15 3 0 0 0
Scoring Stats
YEAR TEAM G PassTD RushTD RecTD RetTD TotTD 2PT PAT FG TotPT
2006 USC 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 6
2007 USC 3 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2008 USC 13 34 3 0 0 3 0 0 0 18