NFL

Everybody's Falling in Love with Mark Sanchez

When Mark Sanchez surprisingly announced in January he was going to call it a college career following an impressive Rose Bowl, his coach was stunned and upset. Our knee-jerk reaction was that Sanchez seemed more accurate and poised and NFL-ready than Georgia’s Matthew Stafford (not to mention he had less talent at WR, and still looked better), and if we were the Lions, we’d grab him.

Then Sanchez struggled at the combine and his stock dipped; Stafford dominated the Wonderlic. Over the last couple of months, there have been many rumors circulating about the Lions deciding between Stafford, Wake’s combine superstar Aaron Curry, and Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith). Sanchez as the No. 1 pick has not been discussed. Among the many, many mock internet drafts, the USC QB falls in the 4-17 range in the first round.

But in the last few days, there seems to be an abundance of pro-Sanchez hype. Trent Dilfer of ESPN has been one of the ring leaders – this morning on Mike & Mike*, they played audio of Dilfer hyping the hell out of Sanchez, bringing up points like, “He’s a great-looking kid,” as if it’s helped Matt Leinart – and the Sanchez contingent has gotten so vocal, the hot question seems to be: Who’s willing to move up (and how high) to grab the kid who started for just one season at USC?

Sanchez has the charisma, temperament, leadership skills, accuracy and enough arm to have Rex Ryan and Jets fans hardly sold on Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff shouting Viva Sanchez!

Former Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer rates Sanchez ahead of Georgia QB Matthew Stafford, the expected first overall pick by the Lions. Some compare Sanchez to Matt Ryan; others label him a cross between Aaron Rodgers and Chad Pennington.

Which begs the question – what, in the last few weeks, has Sanchez done to impress the so-called analysts? Have they simply viewed more game-tape? Did he wow the media in interview sessions? Are they impressed that he turned down the green-room invite to hang with family and friends (or perhaps the memory of Leinart languishing there a few years ago is too fresh for him)?

It couldn’t be a crafty, seasoned agent spreading the word to the media – Sanchez chose his inexperienced brother to represent him. With eight days to go, perhaps the Lions will catch the Sanchez bug that’s going around, which would be a bittersweet selection – we’d love to have called this in January, but more importantly, we’d like to see him leading the Jets this Fall.

* Only watching on TV because Howard Stern’s off this week.

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