Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Great Debate: Part 2

With the draft over, it’s time to make the way-to-early predictions on who will be the standout quarterback in this class: Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez (Sorry Chase Daniel, you have to be drafted to be in this discussion…And be over six feet tall…You should also probably avoid doing this too.) When debating the merits of these two quarterbacks, it’s clear that Mark Sanchez will be the better pro.

First, let’s look at the pedigree of the two quarterbacks. Over the past few years, USC has sent Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Matt Cassell, and John David Booty to the pros. Palmer has been to multiple pro bowls, Cassell had a spectacular season last year, Booty is still developing after being a rookie last year, and Matt Leinart…well at least he’s having fun. As for Georgia, let’s just say that David Greene and D.J. Shockley haven’t exactly been standouts. Also factor in that Mark Sanchez is better equipped to being in the spotlight. With no NFL team in Los Angeles, the Trojans are the main attraction. As a result, Sanchez knows what it’s like to be top dog in a huge market and has a greater maturity and understanding due to this.

An argument against Sanchez is that he only started one season in college. While he could have benefited from another year, he’ll still have the better career than Stafford. USC alum Matt Cassell started a grand total of 0 games in college, yet had a great year last year. While Stafford has started three years at Georgia, he hasn’t exactly been a dominant player. In his three years as a Bulldog, Stafford threw 33 interceptions. He’s simply way too inconsistent to be a top level NFL quarterback.

Even further, in his biggest game of this past year against the Florida Gators, Georgia got manhandled 49-10. In that game, Stafford threw 3 interceptions and 0 touchdowns. To add insult to injury, Georgia’s one touchdown came after Stafford left the game. Simply put, Stafford hasn’t come through in the clutch. On the other hand, Sanchez has excelled in the spotlight. In the Trojans three biggest games against Ohio State, rival UCLA, and Rose Bowl opponent Penn State, Sanchez threw 10 touchdowns, and only two interceptions.

One of the biggest variables in this equation (Sorry, had to throw in a Lost reference) is the NFL teams each player is headed to. Sanchez gets the win here in an absolute no-brainer, as he gets to play with an established franchise in the New York Jets. As for Stafford, he gets the pleasure of playing for the winless Detroit Lions. While they do have a stud receiver in Calvin Johnson, they’re lacking in about every other position. They have a horrible running game and one of the worst offensive lines in football. Detroit might as well line up a turnstile at offensive tackle, as it’ll produce the same results. With no help in the running game, Stafford will take a beating on a weekly basis, as teams will consistently put him on the ground. It’ll be as one-sided as Ivan Drago pummeling Apollo Creed. On the other side, the Jets have a much more established line, and a playmaker at running back in Thomas Jones. As a result, Sanchez won’t feel as much pressure as Stafford surely will experience.

Lastly, look at the motivation each player has. Stafford will get 48 MILLION DOLLARS guaranteed while he plays for the Lions. It doesn’t matter how bad he plays…the money is his. How much motivation is there for him to push himself when he doesn’t need to? For a guy with questionable intelligence, this might not be a great situation. On the other hand, Sanchez will have more of a chip on his shoulder, as he’ll have the motivation to prove he should have been the first pick in this year’s draft. Bottom line, when you look at all these factors, there’s no doubt that Sanchez will be the superior pro.

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