Rex Ryan didn't think Josh Freeman was as highly regarded by his teammates. Two years later he's a captain, Mark Sanchez is not.

Why the Jets Picked Mark Sanchez Over Josh Freeman

A very interesting little tidbit was in this morning’s MMQB column by Peter King. It seems while talking to Rex Ryan about his upcoming book and after taking a couple swipes at the Ravens, the topic of the 2009 NFL Draft arose.

Ryan tells an interesting story in the book about pursuing a franchise quarterback once he got the Jets job. The choice came down to USC’s Mark Sanchez and Kansas State’s Josh Freeman. “We sent both of them a mini-playbook and asked them to learn what they could from it before they met with us,” Ryan told me. “They both blew the doors off us when we got them in a room. We’d ask about out formations and bam-bam-bam, they knew it all quick. Both very, very sharp guys.”

But in telling the story in the book, Ryan says one of the factors that swayed the Jets was how Sanchez was regarded by his peers. He said 24 high school and college mates showed up to catch balls for Sanchez. When they’d been to Kansas State to work out Freeman, two of his receivers showed up. “Honestly,” Ryan told me, “that might have been what separated them — the immense respect we sensed from the people who played with Mark and knew him so well.”

So let me get this straight, because more guys showed up to catch Mark Sanchez’s passes at his pro-day, that is what put him over the top? Ignoring the fact a lot more guys are hanging around Los Angeles than Manhattan, Kansas that may be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Now, granted the Jets aren’t complaining having gone to two straight AFC Championship games with Sanchez, but by the same token Freeman had a MUCH better season last year without nearly the same talent around him. You put Freeman on the Jets and they go just as far, if not further. Put Sanchez on the Bucs and they’d have just picked top ten again last weekend.

Whether or not Rex Ryan saw it, Josh Freeman is about as beloved by his teammates as any player in recent memory on the Bucs, or in the NFL for that matter. Just listen to the way his coaches and teammates talk about him.  The Bucs are unquestionably his team. Personally, I think the better QB wound up in Tampa, so thank you Rex.

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Tags: Bucs Jets Josh Freeman Mark Sanchez New York Jets NFL NFL Draft Peter King Quarterbacks Rex Ryan Tampa Bay

  • Josh

    First off, nobody wears the captain’s “C” on the Jets. Second, there is no question Sanchez is the true leader of the team. Just look at “Jets West”, a mini camp Sanchez put together for the second year in SoCal. He has brought together most of the team to run plays and lead the team during the lockout. Just because he doesn’t wear a C doesn’t mean he is not a leader.

  • Patrik Nohe

    Freeman was doing that last year too. When Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams got picked Freeman had them in Tampa working out with him and getting down the timing before camp even started. He’s been on top of it this year too. Not much of a difference there either. Not saying Sanchez isn’t extremely talented. Just saying thanks to Rex Ryan for letting the better QB slip to Tampa.

  • Tracy

    Rex does not have one set “Team Captain” – he chooses different captains weekly allowing all members of the team to represent.

    • Patrik Nohe

      Fair point, I’ll update the story to reflect that.

  • charles williams

    Matt cassel is a great guy and i’ve enjoyed watching him play but is there any chance tampa would trade with us straight up QB’s?