Sunday, April 26, 2009
Updated: April 27, 10:07 AM ET
Jets' Sanchez eager to get a deal done
ESPN.com news services
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez's first pass with the New York Jets was right on target.
The fifth overall pick in the NFL draft clutched his new No. 6 green and white jersey at his introductory news conference Sunday and softly tossed it over two rows of seats, right into the hands of his father.
"Over the linebacker," a beaming Nick Sanchez said, "and into the seam."
The Jets are hoping for a whole lot of that on the field for years to come after trading up 12 spots Saturday to select their new face of the franchise.
"It's very rare that you find a team that you like so much and you end up getting drafted by them," Mark Sanchez said. "You usually end up getting heartbroken on draft day."
Sanchez, decked out in a black pinstriped suit, dark green tie and white Jets cap, caught a flight from his home in Mission Viejo, Calif., shortly before midnight and landed in the New York area early Sunday morning. He then went on a head-spinning media tour, including a stop at the draft site at Radio City Music Hall, along with his family and agent David Dunn.
And it won't stop there. Sanchez announced on Twitter that he's throwing out the first pitch at Citi Field before the Mets' game against Florida on Monday night.
"This is so cool," said a smiling Sanchez as the cameras flashed while he held up his jersey -- punter Reggie Hodges worked out a side agreement for the No. 6.
"There's a lot of work ahead," the former Southern California star said. "This isn't an end point. Getting here isn't it. It's about winning games and playoff games and getting into championship games."
The Jets acquired the pick from Cleveland and former coach Eric Mangini for their first- and second-round picks, along with defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff. New York was at it again Sunday when it traded a third-, fourth- and seventh-rounder to Detroit for the first spot in the third round to select Iowa running back Shonn Greene.
"We felt so good about those two players that we had to pay the price to go up there and get them," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said.
With their last pick, the Jets selected Nebraska guard Matt Slauson, a three-time All-Big 12 selection, in the sixth round.
|Upon arriving overnight from California, Mark Sanchez gets a hand from Jets owner Woody Johnson to hoist his No. 6 jersey at Sunday's introductory press conference.|
Sanchez, with his accurate arm and excellent field vision, will compete for the starting job with Kellen Clemens. The two share the same agent, and Sanchez called Clemens after he was taken by the Jets.
"He said, 'You know, man, we're going to have fun together,'" Sanchez recalled. "We had a good talk."
Dunn said he didn't anticipate a long negotiation process, and the quarterback was eager to get a deal done quickly.
"In this process, I already feel I'm in the hunt," he said. "I need to get in this place right now. I need as many reps as possible."
Sanchez went 14-2 as a starter with the Trojans, leading them to a victory over Penn State in the Rose Bowl in January. His lack of experience -- he had only one full season as a starter -- had many questioning whether he was truly ready for the NFL. The Jets didn't, especially after putting him through a private workout and holding a classroom session in a hotel room at the owners' meetings in California in March.
"He really is advanced for a guy who had 16 starts," Schottenheimer said.
Sanchez also addressed an incident three years ago in which he was arrested after a female USC student accused him of sexual assault. No charges were filed, and Sanchez said it helped prepare him for playing in a place where his every move is scrutinized.
"It was simply false allegations, but in that kind of situation, you're in a huge media spotlight just like here with the Jets," he said. "People know where you go, where you go to eat, who you are dating and things like that. To be in a situation like that, it taught me so much."
Greene, from Sicklerville, N.J., set Iowa single-season records last year with 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns after sitting out the previous year when he was ruled academically ineligible. Powerfully built at 5-foot-11 and 227 pounds, he could provide a nice complement to the bulldozing Thomas Jones and speedy Leon Washington.
"I think I can do a lot of things, but mostly, I'm good between the tackles and I'm going to get those tough yards and just move the chains," Greene said.
Greene, who found out the Jets drafted him while he was in the shower, was a backup his first two seasons at Iowa. After leaving the school, he worked at a furniture store in Iowa and improved his grades at Kirkwood Community College before he rejoined the Hawkeyes. He then had to beat out five others to win the starting tailback job.
"I just think that situation just really helped me out and it's the reason I'm here today," Greene said. "It's crazy to think about where I was last year to now."
Greene ran into Sanchez when he arrived at the Jets' training facility and the two hugged, congratulated each other and then exchanged phone numbers.
"Good guy," Greene said. "He's going to do good here."
In other Day 2 draft developments, Chicago and Dallas finally made their first picks, in the 68th and 69th slots. The Bears went for defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert of San Jose State, and the Cowboys selected Western lllinois linebacker Jason Williams.
"I know a lot was said about him at the top of the second round," Bears GM Jerry Angelo said of Gilbert. "For whatever reason, it didn't happen. We really didn't expect him to be there but we felt, as I said, given that we wanted to trade down, given that we had four players that we liked and felt good that one of them would be there. That's what happened."
Williams wasn't even invited to the NFL combine in February.
"It probably had something to do with being an FCS player," said Williams of his small-college background. "I got overlooked in the process."
The New York Giants added another receiver to the Plaxico Burress replacement pool, selecting Ramses Barden of Cal Poly in the third round after sending two picks to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Quarterbacks pretty much were overlooked on the second day. Only four went in the first two rounds, including top overall choice Matthew Stafford of Georgia to Detroit. through three more rounds Sunday, Stephen McGee of Texas A&M was the top choice in the fourth round, by Dallas. Former Oklahoma QB Rhett Bomar, who transferred to Sam Houston State, was taken by the Giants in the fifth round, followed by Ball State's Nate Davis to San Francisco.
But the sixth round saw Fresno State's Tom Brandstater go to Denver -- no, he isn't likely another Jay Cutler -- and Rutgers' Mike Teel (to Seattle) go in the first five spots.
Several big-time programs used to having multiple players selected waited a lot longer than Chicago and Dallas to be involved. Indeed, the Miami Hurricanes had gone 14 straight drafts with a first-round pick. This year, no Hurricane had gone through five rounds.
The first Virginia Tech player taken, defensive back Victor Harris, was No. 157 to Philadelphia, and the first Nebraska Cornhusker went in the next spot, linebacker Cody Glenn to Washington.
All-American running back Javon Ringer of Michigan State was the final pick of Round 5, leaving Utah kicker Louie Sakoda as the only All-American undrafted.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Sanchez announced on Twitter that he's throwing out the first pitch at Citi Field before the Mets' game against Florida on Monday night.