Jets move 12 spots to get Sanchez
No bold declarations for a franchise that's been hungry for a Super Bowl trip since the days of Joe Namath.
"I can't promise we're going to win the division," Sanchez said Saturday after the Jets made the former Southern California star the No. 5 overall pick following a trade with Cleveland. "I can't promise we're going to win the Super Bowl and I'm going to be the MVP of the league.
"All I can promise is that I'm going to work hard."
And that works just fine for the Jets, who solved their quarterback question with one giant leap up the draft board from the 17th overall pick.
"When Mark was available at No. 5, we did what was in the best interest of the New York Jets," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said.
The Jets acquired the pick from Cleveland and former coach Eric Mangini for their first-round pick, their second-round (No. 52), and defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff. It turned out to be the Jets' only pick of day, but it was a biggie.
Owner Woody Johnson announced the news on his Twitter page, saying: "We have selected Mark Sanchez. Go Jets." Kicker Jay Feely also tweeted: "Great trade for the Jets!! To only give up our first and second this year to get the fifth pick."
Sanchez, scheduled to be introduced at a news conference at the Jets' facility Sunday, also greeted fans on Twitter late Saturday night: "J-E-T-S ... Jets! Jets! Jets!!!" Sanchez wrote. "Hello NYC!"
Many Jets fans at the draft site at Radio City Music Hall cheered wildly, while some bemoaned giving up what in effect will be five players for one.
"Well, I think if Mr. Tannenbaum and Mr. Johnson think I'm worth it, that's great," Sanchez said. "I'm excited about the faith they have in me. Of course, you need to prove them right, and that comes with being the first guy on the practice field and being the last guy to leave."
Sanchez, with his powerful and accurate arm and excellent field vision, will immediately compete for the starting job with Kellen Clemens. The Southern California native arrives a season after Brett Favre came out of retirement, but struggled down the stretch as the Jets went 9-7 and missed the playoffs.
"The only thing I can say to that is I've never grown up dreaming of being a backup," Sanchez said. "That's what it's all about, and I'm sure Kellen Clemens feels the same way and that's what this position is all about is competing for your job and that's all I know how to do. It'll be a great matchup for us."
The pick was the first for new coach Rex Ryan, who repeatedly declared his confidence in Clemens and Brett Ratliff this offseason but believed Sanchez was too good a talent to pass up. The Jets' fondness for him only grew after seeing him at a private workout at Mission Viejo High School in California in March.
"We saw the great feet, the poise and how confident he was," Ryan said. "Brian [Schottenheimer] put him through every workout known to man and he passed every one of them with flying colors. We knew, I think, right then that this was the guy we really wanted."
Sanchez was considered by some to be an even greater talent than Georgia's Matthew Stafford, who went No. 1 overall to the Detroit Lions, but some teams were wary of his lack of experience. Not the Jets, who saw enough in his 16 starts with the Trojans to make them believe he could be the leader of the franchise.
"We wouldn't have traded up for Mark if we didn't think he had the ability to compete for the starting position," Ryan said, adding that Sanchez practiced daily against several outstanding defensive players, including first-rounders Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews.
Sanchez said he was pleasantly surprised when he studied the Jets' playbook during his workout with them and noticed strong similarities to USC's offense. That could bode well for New York after Sanchez threw for 3,965 yards and 41 touchdowns and excelled in the Trojans' system despite having just one year as a starter after sitting at USC behind John David Booty.
He won the job last season and led the Trojans to a victory over Penn State in the Rose Bowl, passing for 413 yards and earning offensive MVP honors. Sanchez opted to forgo his final year of college eligibility, and became the first quarterback the Jets selected in the first round since Chad Pennington went 18th overall in 2000.
Sanchez also believes he's prepared for the scrutiny of playing in New York, and for a franchise that hasn't played in a Super Bowl since Namath led the Jets to the title in 1969.
"The kind of pressure, you expect that," he said. "As a quarterback, that's what you signed up for. I learned how to compete and deal with pressure at 'SC and in a large media market in Los Angeles, and things are only going to be bigger and better."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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