Pete Carroll: Mark Sanchez Is Making a Mistake Entering the NFL Draft
Every college football coach would love to have all his best players stay in school for all four years of their eligibility. But few college coaches are as blunt about it as Pete Carroll was today when he said he thought his quarterback, Mark Sanchez, was making the wrong decision by turning pro.
After Sanchez announced he was leaving school for what he described as a dream come true to play in the NFL, Carroll told the gathered media, "We don't see this decision the same. ... Mark is going against the grain on this decision. He knows that. He knows that coming out early is a tremendous challenge for a quarterback. And the statistics don't back up that it's easy to be successful the way he's going about it. We know that, he knows that. ... I don't agree with the assessment of the decision."
I basically agree with Carroll that Sanchez could use another year of seasoning as a passer. But I'm still surprised that Carroll would say it publicly. Even when they disagree with their players' decisions to turn pro, coaches usually grit their teeth, tell the media something bland along the lines of "I'm happy for him and his family," and leave it at that.
And, of course, it's not like staying in school is always the best option. Another USC quarterback, Matt Leinart, probably cost himself millions of dollars by deciding not to enter the 2005 NFL draft, when the 49ers probably would have taken him first, ahead of Alex Smith. As it turned out, he was chosen 10th overall by the Cardinals in 2006. And Leinart's backup at USC, Matt Cassel, has been just fine in the NFL with a lot less college experience than Sanchez has.
So yes, I think Sanchez would be better off in the 2010 draft than he will be in 2009. But it's not so cut-and-dried that I'd be willing to tell Sanchez not to follow his dream. Apparently Pete Carroll feels differently.
Via Adam Rose of All Things Trojan.