Is USC QB Mark Sanchez Ready For The National Football League?

MS On The Move
Mark Sanchez, the star USC QB, declared for the NFL Draft today at 1 p.m. EST.

His decision was carefully evaluated by USC head coach Pete Carroll, as well as Sanchez himself.

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Sanchez felt he made the right decision at the right time.  He is set to graduate from USC, so he will receive a degree before entering the NFL.  However, Carroll was not happy with Sanchez’s decision, and made this clear in a separate press conference.

“Mark is going against the grain, and he knows that,” Carroll said.

What are some things that may have influenced Sanchez’s decision?

First, highly touted QB Sam Bradford decided not to come out for the 2009 NFL Draft, despite being one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft class. With Bradford electing to stay at Oklahoma, Sanchez may believe that he has a chance to go first overall to a team in need of a quarterback—the Detroit Lions.

Sanchez had a very productive year in the competitive Pac-10 Conference, and he may have felt that he had little left to prove at the collegiate level.  The surprising thing—USC has nine offensive starters returning.  Sanchez would have had the chance to work with a great offense to improve his passing mechanics and decision making skills.

While Sanchez has made his official decision, I have to side with Carroll.  Sanchez does not seem like a “polished” product—not close to a sure thing.  With the fairly high rate of quarterback busts, Sanchez could be right in line to struggle initially in the National Football League.  Whether he can catch on quickly, or ever learn the position effectively—it is yet to be seen.