- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets and Kevin Kolb of the Buffalo Bills have a lot in common. Both quarterbacks are draft busts with once-promising careers. However, Sanchez and Kolb will be competing for starting jobs this season in what could be their final shot to lead an NFL franchise.
But which AFC East quarterback is better: Sanchez or Kolb? ESPN NFL analyst and quarterback guru Ron Jaworski has the answer.
According to Jaworski, Sanchez rates higher than Kolb. Jaworski ranked Sanchez No. 28 in his annual quarterback rankings and Kolb No. 30.
Here is Jaworski’s evaluation of Sanchez:
"I was very disappointed in the overall play of my 28th-rated quarterback in 2012. I believed Mark Sanchez entering his fourth season would improve. Instead, he regressed; his limitations further exposed. There’s only one way Sanchez can be successful as an NFL starter. That’s as a complementary piece in an offense whose foundation is a consistent running game. What does that mean? It means Sanchez’s ceiling is that of a mid-level starter, nothing more. He can only function as a system quarterback, in which his passing limitations can be minimized."
Sanchez has led the NFL in turnovers the past two years, had some embarrassing moments and was temporarily benched last season. Still, Jaworski believes Sanchez is better than Kolb. This is not good news if you're a Buffalo fan.
The Bills signed Kolb to a two-year contract, and he’s currently the favorite to start in Week 1 ahead of rookie EJ Manuel. Kolb has experience, and that's provided a slight edge heading into training camp. But we have seen Kolb's many limitations over the course of his career.
Here is Jaworski's evaluation of Kolb:
"Kolb only started five games in 2012. You may recall he was not named the opening day starter, losing out in a heated competition with John Skelton. Kolb replaced an injured Skelton week one in the fourth quarter against Seattle and led the Cardinals on a game-winning drive. Kolb has always shown flashes that he’s capable of being an efficient starter. The situation in Arizona, unfortunately, highlighted his limitations. He played behind the worst offensive line in the NFL. One thing that has always prevented Kolb from developing into a consistent quarterback has been his inability to operate in a muddied pocket, with bodies flying around him. You have to be able to do that. Kolb is a functional space passer who needs a comfortable cradle to deliver the football."
In addition to Sanchez, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback and former Miami Dolphin Chad Henne, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder and Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden were all ranked ahead of Kolb.
If Jaworski is correct, Bills fans will be clamoring for Manuel to play sooner than later.