Mark Sanchez excellent at USC Pro Day

Quarterback Mark Sanchez is making a strong case to be selected in the top 10 (or thereabouts) after dazzling at USC’s Pro Day.

The consensus at USC on Wednesday was that Sanchez had an excellent performance in front of a full house that included NFL scouts and coaches, family and friends, and even a few fans in the stands. He showed balance, solid footwork and most importantly, accuracy on all of his throws.

He estimated that he threw about 80 passes — a strong number for a pro day workout.
There were even whispers that Sanchez’s pro day was better than that of Georgia’s Matt Stafford. Again, whispers. But Sanchez was confident and effortless, and did nothing but help himself.

“I think he showed better arm strength than people generally give him,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “He’s not Stafford, he’s not [Kansas State’s Josh] Freeman; but his arm is every bit as good as Matt Ryan’s. And as Matt Ryan showed this year, when you’re accurate and you show good anticipation, a good arm is good enough. That’s what Matt is, and that’s what Mark Sanchez is. What he showed is consistency.”

Mayock makes a great point about arm strength. Two years ago everyone marveled at how JaMarcus Russell could throw a 60-yard pass while sitting down. But having that much arm strength doesn’t amount to much if you’re only completing 53.8 percent of your passes, which is what Russell did last year.

The one big knock on Ryan last year was that he lacked elite arm strength. Yet he proved last year that he can complete all of the NFL throws and he showed great touch on the deep ball. As long as Sanchez can do the same thing, it doesn’t necessarily matter if he doesn’t have the arm strength of Matthew Stafford or Josh Freeman. The key is whether or not Sanchez (or any of the quarterbacks for that matter) have the mental makeup in order to succeed at the next level. Ryan and Joe Flacco did and that’s why they succeeded.

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