I have been less than enthused about the NFL off-season. The Jets' late-season fade left a really bad taste in my mouth, and the frustrations over the years have slow-cooked to a boil right about now.
I'll be excited again in September, but I didn't really follow closely what had been going on this off-season.
But today's draft might change that a bit.
I didn't really think the Jets would go into the season with Kellen Clemens as their most likely option at quarterback. But it was looking more and more desperate if they didn't do anything at the draft.
I'm happy to report they did.
The Jets gave up a lot - but it should be worth it, drafting Mark Sanchez out of USC.
They traded their first and second round picks in this draft along with Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam, and Brett Ratliff to Eric Mangini and the Cleveland Browns for the fifth pick, which they used to land Sanchez.
Here's why I'm confident:
1) If at no other position, USC quarterbacks have found success in the NFL....no matter how much playing time they got in college.
2) Sanchez seems to have a good head on his shoulders. The Jets, under Rex Ryan, will just be looking for him to make smart plays and not screw things up. Just manage the offense. Sanchez, probably the highest-profile draft pick in an otherwise drab personality year, handled himself very, very well throughout the process the past few weeks, and didn't screw it up for himself. I think that's pretty microcosmic of the job he'll have to do with the Jets.
3) It's not Kellen Clemens.
Listen, I'm sure Kellen Clemens is a decent guy. But I'll always hold it against him that he was the one pitted against Chad Pennington when Pennington should have been given a better deal than he was given with the Jets. And he didn't do well during that time, so I was not looking forward to that day when he eventually took over. Now we won't have to worry about that.
One final note - another reason I'm excited about this season is the coach, and the fact that it's not a Bill Belichik disciple taking over the team. Rex Ryan has not been afraid to speak his mind in the few months since he took over, and I like that. That was part of what made Herman Edwards fun as the coach of the Jets (when he wasn't telling bold-face lies).
Ryan has yet to steer the team wrong with any personnel moves, and I like what he's had to say.
I won't be saying much about the NFL between now and...I don't know...August? But I'll be thinking happy thoughts about the Jets and their new franchise quarterback between now and then.