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INSIDE the tension-packed war room at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum's heart pounded furiously. Old friend Eric Mangini, picking fifth with the Browns at yesterday's NFL Draft, was on the clock.

And Mark Sanchez was still in play.

Tannenbaum - and owner Woody Johnson and coach Rex Ryan - may not have wanted Sanchez as much as Sonny Werblin wanted Joe Namath in 1965, but they sure wanted him. The Jets needed a wide receiver to replace Laveranues Coles and complement Jerricho Cotchery. They needed a smash-mouth tight end to complement Dustin Keller.

Most of all, they needed a franchise quarterback.

Got him!

Viva Tannenbaum!

Viva Sanchez!

Mangini didn't do much for the Jets last season. He did plenty for them yesterday.

Mangini traded that fifth pick to his old buddy Tannenbaum for the Jets' 17th pick, their second-round pick and three spare parts that a rebuilding team can use immediately: defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff in what arguably is the biggest draft day trade in Jets history. I never thought former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi gave up too much for Eli Manning, and he gave up more than Tannenbaum did for Sanchez.

You don't win a championship in the NFL hoping you have a quarterback. You don't win a Super Bowl with a caretaker quarterback, unless you have a dominant defense for the ages. If you plan on shaking hands with the president at the White House within the next four years, and Ryan has wasted no time telling us he does, you better make sure you have a Mark Sanchez driving the bus.

Someone with accuracy and athleticism and leadership and a big enough arm. Someone with charisma and star power. Someone New York won't scare.

Someone like Mark Sanchez.

The Seahawks picked linebacker Aaron Curry fourth and the 10-minute clock ticked towards the two-minute warning on Mangini when a voice from behind the curtain that sounded like the Wizard of Oz announced: "Cleveland has traded its pick . . . the New York Jets are on the clock."

That's when you heard this giant roar erupt from the sea of green- and-white that flooded Radio City Music Hall.

"J-E-T-S . . . Jets ! Jets ! Jets !"

The giant screens overhead showed Sanchez, in California with his family, don a Jets cap with a smile you could have stretched all the way to Broadway.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Sanchez was a Jet and again here came "J-E-T-S . . . Jets ! Jets ! Jets !"

"I'm very excited," Sanchez told ESPN. "This is exactly where I wanted to be."

Super Saturday, when the cruel Football gods who have forever tormented the Jets were gracious enough to call off the dogs and throw the green-and-white franchise a bone.

"You guys are gonna love him," Ryan said of his new QB with a big smile at a New Jets Stadium VIP draft party. "Get ready to buy a lot of jerseys out there!"

I recently asked Sanchez to give me an example of his leadership style.

"In the offseason, I took a bunch of the guys down to work out with [Mission Viejo High] Coach [Bob] Johnson and throw . . . just a ton," Sanchez said. "I'd bring 'em home on weekends, I'd get my dad's big truck with the shell on it and this loft in the back so we'd pile all the guys in, drive 'em down to my house, work out for about an hour. As soon as we got done throwing and working out . . . it was have fun, and you build these relationships off the field, so when . . . you're in the pressure cooker, and guys' emotions run high, guys start yelling at each other, it's never personal, they know that I care for these guys, I'm their guy. And then when we got to the games, it was a breeze. You feel this connection with these guys,and when it happens right, like it usually did at SC, it was . . unbelievable."

Viva Tannenbaum!

Viva Sanchez!

Getting Sanchez

Here?s a look what the Jets gave the Browns for the 5th-overall pick so they could select Mark Sanchez:

Jets ? 1st-round pick (No. 17 overall):

Traded to Tampa Bay for two draft picks

Jets ? 2nd-round pick (No. 52)

QB Brett Ratliff

DE Kenyon Coleman

S Abram Elam


Post columnist Steve Serby was on fire yesterday, correctly matching nine of the first 18 NFL Draft picks from his Friday mock draft, including a trade up by the Jets to nab USC QB Mark Sanchez. Serby finished with a personal-record 11 direct hits - including the Giants? selection of North Carolina WR Hakeem Nicks at No. 29. In all, Serby tabbed 28 of the 32 players who were selected in the first round.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 29, 2009

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Kevin Kasper Name: Kevin Kasper
Position: WR
Age: 30
Experience: 6 years
College: Iowa
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