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AFC East Notebook

Jets go for a QB

Southern Cal's Sanchez is theirs at 5 after trade

Associated Press / April 26, 2009
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The New York Jets have their franchise quarterback, selecting former Southern California star Mark Sanchez with the fifth pick of the NFL draft yesterday after trading with the Cleveland Browns to leap from the 17th overall spot.

"When Mark was available at No. 5, we did what was in the best interest of the New York Jets," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said.

Sanchez, with his powerful and accurate arm and excellent field vision, will immediately compete for the starting job with Kellen Clemens a season after Brett Favre came out of retirement, but struggled down the stretch as the Jets went 9-7 and missed the playoffs.

"The only thing I can say to that is I've never grown up dreaming of being a backup," Sanchez said during a conference call. "That's what it's all about, and I'm sure Kellen Clemens feels the same way and that's what this position is all about is competing for your job and that's all I know how to do. It'll be a great matchup for us."

The pick was the first for new coach Rex Ryan, who repeatedly declared his confidence in Clemens and Brett Ratliff this offseason but believed Sanchez was too good a talent to pass up. The Jets' fondness for him only grew after seeing him at a private workout at Mission Viejo High School in California in March.

"We saw the great feet, the poise and how confident he was," Ryan said. "Brian [Schottenheimer] put him through every workout known to man and he passed every one of them with flying colors. We knew, I think, right then that this was the guy we really wanted."

The Jets acquired the pick from Cleveland and former coach Eric Mangini for their first-round pick, their second-round pick this year (No. 52), and defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam, and Ratliff.

Sanchez was considered by some to be an even greater talent than Georgia's Matthew Stafford, who went No. 1 overall to the Detroit Lions, but some teams were wary of his lack of experience. Not the Jets, who saw enough in his 16 starts with the Trojans to make them believe he could be the leader of the franchise.

"We wouldn't have traded up for Mark if we didn't think he had the ability to compete for the starting position," Ryan said.

Bills
If signing Terrell Owens was considered a big move for the Bills this offseason, wait until you see how much bigger they got with their two first-round picks.

After addressing their pass rush by selecting Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin with the No. 11 pick, the Bills filled a need on their offensive line by taking Louisville center Eric Wood at No. 28.

Maybin, listed at 6 feet 4 inches, 248 pounds, has the potential to immediately bolster the Bills' pass rush after leading the Big Ten with 12 sacks last season. Wood, listed at 6-4, 304 pounds, was selected with the pick the Bills acquired in trading left tackle Jason Peters to Philadelphia last week.

The Bills added more bulk by trading two draft picks (75th and 110th) to Dallas for the 51st pick, with which Buffalo selected Oregon State offensive lineman Andy Levitre (6-2 1/2, 305). The Bills also selected Oregon defensive back Jairus Byrd with the 42d pick.

Dolphins

Miami's Wildcat formation has a new weapon: West Virginia quarterback Pat White. The Dolphins took White with the first of their two second-round picks, 44th overall.

It's expected White will play more of a receiver-hybrid role in the pros, and that was before he was drafted by Miami, which gave teams fits by having their running backs take snaps and trigger the offense. White will give the Dolphins yet another option, one who passed for 1,842 yards last season with the Mountaineers and rushed for 978.

The Dolphins hope Illinois cornerback Vontae Davis (taken 25th) and Utah cornerback Sean Smith (61st) will upgrade a secondary that ranked 25th against the pass last year.

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