The selection of Smith seriously clouds the future of Sanchez, the team's first-rounder in 2009 who has struggled mightily the past two seasons. Smith could compete for the starting job this season with Sanchez, who is owed $8.25 million in guaranteed money this season.
But the Jets currently have Sanchez, David Garrard, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms - and now Smith - as quarterbacks on their roster. Tebow is expected to be traded or released soon, and it now remains to be seen whether Sanchez will remain on the roster by the beginning of the regular season.
The Jets drafted Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner with the ninth overall pick and Missouri defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson at No. 13 - a spot they also considered taking Smith - in the first round Thursday night.
Smith came into the draft with mixed reviews, largely in part because he was considered not as good a prospect as last year's crop of quarterbacks that included Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill.
Smith was asked if he believes he is a franchise quarterback, and he didn't hesitate.
"Yeah, I do believe so," he said, "for a number of reasons."
Smith, who owns almost all of West Virginia's passing records, gets rid of the ball quickly, but has had some accuracy problems. He can make completions on the run and is capable of making big plays.
Smith threw for 11,662 yards, 98 touchdowns and only 21 interceptions in four years at West Virginia. The Miami native had dinner with new Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg before the draft, and Mornhinweg reportedly raved about Smith to Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik.