The New York Jets came away with only three players from the 2009 Rookie Draft. However, they addressed areas of concern with all of them.
Taken with the 5th overall pick (trde with Cleveland)
The Jets walked away from Draft Day with the belief that they finally have the leader they need in the self-assured Sanchez. Obviously, the club was not sold on either Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff enough to consider letting either of them take the reins this season. Ratliff was traded away as part of the deal.
Sanchez, a native of Long Beach, California, will ostensibly battle Clemens for the Opening Day slot, but even a blind man can tell where this one is going. New coach Rex Ryan has cagily admitted that he knows who his guy is and you can bet it's not the guy who was on the roster last season. New York did not make their huge splash simply to let their new prized jewel sit on the bench and learn.
Sanchez does possess a strong arm, is intelligent and is a dynamic leader. However, he has limited collegiate experience and it's unrealistic to expect him to waltz onto an NFL field and succeed without any period of adjustment. The Jets would be better off easing him into the season, but that's simply not going to happen.
Still, if you're a Jet fan, you have to be at least a little bit excited about not only what this young man brings to the table physically, but also the charisma he exhibits. One area I don't doubt that he will excel in is dealing with the sometimes brutal New York media. The Jets may have had the legendary Brett Favre as their quarterback last year, but they haven't had a potential media superstar like this one since the days of Joe Namath.
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Written by Frank Mazzola