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There's one man in this town who can best relate to the potential pitfalls and glory that await Mark Sanchez, the Jets' prized first-round draft pick.

That man is Eli Manning.

The Giants mortgaged their future to acquire Manning on draft day in 2004, engineering the biggest trade in franchise history with the Chargers to make Manning a Giant.

Manning started nine games in his rookie year and struggled, drawing criticism from the cynics who thought the Giants spent too much to get him. In his fourth season, however, he led the Giants to a Super Bowl championship and now is somewhat of a made man in this town.

The Jets made a similar bold move in last month's draft, bolting up 12 spots in the first round to secure Sanchez, whom they hope will become the Super Bowl-winning franchise quarterback for them that Manning has become for the Giants.

Now, the pressure Manning felt six years ago is squarely on Sanchez.

Manning, in an exclusive interview with The Post, spoke about what Sanchez will face as a highly touted, high draft pick, rookie quarterback in New York with the blinding glare of expectations upon him.

"With Mark, it's the first time the Jets have a quarterback they went out and drafted early and there are a lot of expectations on him," Manning said. "There's a lot of hype going around h i m and people are going to want immediate results.

It might happen and it could, but it's hard.

"You've got to go through some of the challenges of being a young player. There are going to be some low points. It's a matter of getting through those lows."

Manning, who met and spoke with Sanchez at the Super Bowl in February, said his first bit of advice for the rookie is to stay humble.

"It's always a little different situation when you're drafted as an early pick like both of us and you go into the locker room and people start seeing your contract and what you're making," Manning said. "You've got to go in there, keep quiet a little bit and work hard to earn the respect from your other players."

The daunting task of doing it in New York presents another challenge.

"In New York, it just goes game-bygame of how he's doing," Manning said. "That's just kind of the way it works in New York. There's not a whole lot of leeway with people saying, 'He's got it or he doesn't have it.' People are going to make quick decisions about you whether good or bad, and you can't let it affect you, good or bad."

Manning, too, warned of proper behavior off the field, something he has championed since coming here.

"Being around New York you're very visible, so you've got to watch out what you're doing and where you're hanging out," he said. "You've got to kind of think about how you want to be thought of and appear. It's a lot of live and learn."

Manning said he expects to reach out to Sanchez sometime this summer and offer whatever help he can.

"I'm sure we'll develop some sort of relationship, playing in the same town and probable seeing each other around New Jersey since the Jets moved here," Manning said. "Something will come up. Me and Chad [Pennington] hung out some and sent some text messages. You've got to deal with similar things around New York, and he was helpful to me when I first came here."

Manning said he doesn't think starting right away is paramount to Sanchez's success, but playing some his rookie year would help.

"He's in a good position where he's going to get some playing time his rookie year, and the Jets have a good team around him," Manning said. "That's the most important thing, however you get it. We went 1-6 in games I started [my rookie year]. The next season, I had a lot of confidence and we won NFC East. I don't think we could have had as successful a second year if it weren't for me getting playing time my rookie season.

"I think in Mark's case he'll definitely get playing time this year, so that'll be good."

Manning said winning the Super Bowl - something expectant Jets fans are counting on with Sanchez - completely changed the way he was perceived.

"It definitely was a great experience, and you love having one under your belt," he said.

"You feel not so much that you have to keep proving yourself every game. You get some of the doubters out of there. But it doesn't end any hunger from my aspect. If anything it makes you hungrier to get back to a championship.

"Obviously with Mark, [winning a championship] is what the Jets are thinking. He's coming from a great program at USC and sounds like a great kid. I'm sure he'll get off to a good start and be a good player for the Jets for a long time."

2009 DRAFT

Jets GOT: No. 5 overall: Mark Sanchez

BROWNS GOT: No. 17 overall*: C Alex Mack WR Mohamed Massaquoi CB Franceis Coye RB James Davis

2nd round: DE David Veikune

PLUS QB Brett Ratliff DB Abram Elam DE Kenyon Coleman

* Subsequent trade(s) landed players listed

2004 DRAFT

Giants GOT: No. 1 overall QB Eli Manning

Chargers GOT: No. 4 overall: QB Phillip Rivers

3rd round: PK Nate Kaeding 1st round (2005): LB Shawne Merriman 5th round (2005)*:

OT Roman Oben

* Subsequent trade(s) landed players listed

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 12, 2009

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Age: 24
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