Although Mark Sanchez is currently rehabbing his left knee after undergoing partially arthroscopic surgery earlier this month, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum continues to tout the USC quarterback who led them to the AFC championship game in his rookie season.
The Jets traded up with the Browns for the fifth pick in the draft to select Sanchez, who started only one season for the Trojans.
''After he threw that interception against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, we got back to our complex about 4 in the morning,'' Tannenbaum said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. ''We all went home and went to bed and he opted to watch tape on that throw.
''He's been in the office all week this week with Matt Cavanaugh, our quarterbacks coach, and Brian Schottenheimer, our offensive coordinator, already looking back to last year. As he's told me, he's really closely evaluated in Mark's terms, 'the drought,' a good chunk of the middle of the season. Noboby's a harder critic on Mark than he is. That's why we're so excited about him.''
Tannenbaum believes the trade will work out well for both sides. The Browns moved down to No. 17 and picked up the Jets' second-round pick, 52nd overall (which they used to select Hawaii linebacker David Veikune), along with two starters, defensive end Kenyon Coleman and strong safety Abram Elam, and No. 3 quarterback Brett Ratliff.
''That trade will be great for both sides, when you factor in the extra picks and players Cleveland got and the value they can take in terms of resources to spend on other players,'' Tannenbaum said. ''For us, we just felt really fortunate to get Mark.
''We were really impressed by Mark's intangibles and his passion for the game. So we felt if it was within reason, we would go up and try to get Mark. Fortunately as we defined it, the price was reasonable. We were really excited to get him, we remain that way, but again, it's a lot of the attributes he brings to the table.''
Tannenbaum said Jets coach Rex Ryan also had significant input on the potential of Sanchez.
''What's really interesting, going through the process with Rex and what gives him problems defending an NFL quarterback, he felt Mark had all those attributes,'' Tannenbaum said.
When Sanchez learned he'd won the job as the Jets' starter, Tannenbaum said Sanchez immediately tried to win over his teammates.
''He took all the skill players to his high school, they worked out together, he washed their clothes, he took them to a waterpark, he had a barbeque,'' Tannenbaum said. ''I thought that was really smart leadership. He knew for him to be successful they had to buy into him. To feed guys, take them to the waterpark and do their laundry is smart business.''
Tannenbaum doesn't know if his trade pipeline with the Browns will dry up now that Mike Holmgren has taken over as team president.
''I've talked to coach Holmgren a couple times already, as I do with a lot of my peers,'' Tannenbaum said. ''Especially for us right now, I'm looking at the trades as a real viable way for us to improve our team. We're going to look at any possibility heading into the draft or on draft day. We've had a lot of trade partners, just not Cleveland.''
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