A number of sports-related phenomena never fails to amaze me. Included on this illustrious list is the staggering ability of NFL Draft prospects to increase their stock, sometimes by a number of ROUNDS, based solely upon the NFL Draft Combine, university-sponsored Pro Days, and individual workouts. The latest such prospect, and perhaps one of my favorites, is USC QB Mark Sanchez. A few short months ago Pete Carroll, who probably knows a little more about football than I do, was advising that Sanchez remain in school for his senior year.
Now all of a sudden this guy is supposed to be a top 5 pick (Seahawks at 4 is a strong possibility) all because of how good he looks in a pair of shorts? Don’t get me wrong, I refuse to deny how good Sanchez looks in said shorts (see sidebar) – The guy has steamy Latin looks rivaled only by a circa 1994 Antonio Banderas. But as you’ll see below USC QB + NFL hasn’t exactly been a formula for success.
In the past 25 years USC has sent the following quarterbacks to the NFL (per profootballreference.com):
- Sean Salisbury -1987 (Undrafted) – a favorite who proved to be a serviceable back-up in his 10 years in the NFL. Also allegedly was fired from ESPN for taking pictures of his penis with his cell phone and showing them to numerous women. So…that’s something right?
- Rodney Peete – 1989 (6th round, 141st pick overall) – more famous for marrying a woman who starred in “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper” as her most impressive acting credit than any of his football playing exploits. Moving on.
- Todd Marinovich -1991 (1st round, 24th pick overall) – Robo-QB. Set the record for TD passes in an Arena Football League game with the Los Angeles Avengers. Fun side note: was suffering from severe heroin withdrawal during the game and shit his pants during warm-ups. (Thanks Esquire!)
- Rob Johnson – 1995 (4th round, 99th pick overall) -the Jaguars managed to turn Johnson into a 1st round pick from the Bills based upon the strength of 1 great start against the 1997 soon to be 6-9-1 Baltimore Ravens. He proceeded to throw 27 touchdowns for Buffalo…over the course of 4 years. While he may be the looks prototype for Sanchez, NFL careers are not made by how good you look in a bandanna and half t-shirt.
- Carson Palmer – 2003 (1st round, 1st overall pick) – Palmer doesn’t belong on this list. I’d like not to put the 2-time Pro Bowler on here. However Kimo von Oelhoffen singlehandedly made it likely that he’ll remain a 2-time Pro Bowler.
- Matt Cassel– 2005 (7th round, 231st overall pick) – Could he somehow end up the best of them all? Played behind two Heisman trophy winners and never started a game at QB for USC, maybe that’s the secret. Don’t actually play at USC.
- Matt Leinart – 2006 (1st round, 10th pick overall) – if you don’t have the good sense to ban the use of camera phones at your beer bong party and somehow lose the quarterbacking job which consists of throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin well…that speaks volumes about your future in the NFL.
So Mark Sanchez, that is what has come before you. Can you do worse? Yes, you probably can. The spotty history of USC quarterbacks makes it almost a certainty. But never fear young man, Hollywood is bound to pick up that CHiPs movie script any time now and if all else fails, you can be the next-generation Ponch.