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Sanchez still not decided on the NFL

Pete Carroll met with Mark Sanchez yesterday to discuss his options to either turn pro or stay at USC.

[... ]the USC quarterback met separately with new offensive coordinator John Morton and with Coach Pete Carroll.

It was only the start of what could be a tough stretch of days as Sanchez seriously contemplates the question Palmer and Leinart faced after their junior seasons: Should he return to USC for a final season of eligibility or turn pro?

It's really hard to know which way this goes. Sanchez could use a little more experience and show us that the mid-season lack-luster play that we saw was more about the coaches keeping a tight on leash on his abilities than it was about his abilities being less than advertised.

If Sanchez bolts he will likely carry a clipboard for a year, maybe two, just like Carson Palmer did and that worked out pretty good. he could stay another year like Leinart did, increase his stock more (barring injury or a poor performance next season), and become an even higher draft pick. The problem there is that he will surely go to some bottom feeder team and get thrust into the mix very early and as we saw with Leinart that isn't always a good thing.

Its just like playing chess, you need to think 3-4 moves ahead.

The money issue is moot because there won't be any rookie salary cap in the NFL until 2011 so its really more about the long term goal of having a solid career in the NFL. The thing I would really like to know is what the NFL evaluation said. With Stafford announcing this afternoon and with Bradford probably coming out regardless of tomorrow night's results Sanchez would be in the perfect spot to get drafted by a pretty good team that may have a QB that he can learn from instead of getting thrust into the fire right out of the gate.

Here is what one scout said...

NFL team scouts, given anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the topic, said Sanchez enhanced his draft stock with his stellar play against the Nittany Lions.

"He was on the big stage and he performed," one scout said. "Many of the general managers and coaches saw that game, and that will be the performance they remember."

Even so, the scout said Sanchez would be better served to stay at USC for another season, estimating he would be a late first-round pick were he to leave school early.

"He needs more seasoning at the position, but the skill set is there," said the evaluator, who would rank him as the third- or fourth-best quarterback if he were to come out now. "He's not NFL-ready, but he has NFL tools."

Another scout agreed, saying the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Sanchez would benefit from another year to grow stronger and a chance to show that the Rose Bowl was not a fluke.

"That was a breakout game for him, but now I'd like to see him do that repeatedly in the season," he said.

In the end I think he stays, but I think the time to go is now.

I will of course be disappointed if Sanchez goes. I think he needs the extra experience because he is only a one year starter. I realize I am in the minority here, but Sanchez can hone those skills on an NFL practice squad just like Cassell did and he's done fine for himself this season.

I really would like him to stay and take the offense next year to new heights, but I really don't see the benefit of staying. If Sanchez goes SC will be in a real tough spot next year. It would be a true rebuilding year as they will be replacing most of the defense (regardless of the talent on the roster) and they would then have a new starting QB to run a really talented offense but the familiarity would not be there like it is with Sanchez.

At this point it really is hard figure how it will all turn out. If he stays, Great! If he doesn't SC will have its work cut out for them.