The Jets have played 42 regular-season games since they gave up a king's ransom to take Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft. Those games have been filled with highs and lows, as is the case with any NFL quarterback.
But typically, those are the growing pains of a young quarterback, and they come with signs of maturity, as well. Sanchez's growth spurt is taking a bit longer than usual, and hasn't carried the promise of him ever actually reaching the elite level of play one would expect from a fifth overall pick.
It could realistically be time for the Jets to consider moving on from Sanchez. Sure, he's had two bad games in a row in the past, but rarely has he had two games where he's meant as much to the team losing as he has in two games against the Patriots and Broncos.
Yet for whatever reason, the Jets continue to get a free pass on Sanchez and several other draft failures since the Rex Ryan regime began. Although Sanchez's shortcomings are easier to point out — both because of his position and his selection spot in the draft — he just the most well-documented failure of the Jets' recent drafts.
A coach that drafts as poorly as Rex has for the Jets usually draws a bit more ire from the media. That's just one of the many benefits of being a media darling that can crack a quip and give reporters a headline faster than you can say "guarantee."
But consider this: When former Jets head coach Eric Mangini left town, he left a cupboard stocked full of talented high draft picks. Tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, center Nick Mangold, cornerback Darrelle Revis, linebacker David Harris and tight end Dustin Keller are just the biggest names that were drafted on Mangini's three-year watch.
What players have the Jets drafted since Rex came to town three years ago that come even close to that level? The quick answer: none.
Sure, the Jets haven't had very many draft picks recently — just 13 in Rex's three years as head coach — but the ones they've had have yet to play out.
Nine of those 13 picks were quarterbacks, running backs or wide receivers. Only one, running back Shonn Greene, is even close to being considered a solid pick.
Players like cornerback Kyle Wilson (first-round pick) and guard Vladimir Ducasse (second-round pick) remain inconsistent in their second year with the team, and though those players may still need time to develop, the early signs aren't promising. Neither has been able to crack the starting lineup despite being behind what many consider inferior competition at their respective positions.
One possible reason for the free pass is that the Jets have gone 4-2 with Sanchez at the helm in postseason play. The only problem is, you have to actually get to the postseason to play well in it. Sanchez's play could be a key reason for the Jets missing out on the playoffs this season.
And if that happens, the Jets need to take a long, hard look at their quarterback, but also at a long history of draft failures under Rex.
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