A little background on my breakdown of Stanzi: I watched Iowa play quite a bit during the 2010 season. I watched many of their games live. I also went back and watched every offensive snap from the Eastern Illinois, Iowa State, Arizona, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Insight Bowl games. I also went back and watched 2-4 offensive series from the Wisconsin and Ohio State games.
Positives: Is a leader’s leader. Showed the ability to cut down on his INT ratio greatly in 2010, largely due to smarter decision making. Not afraid to take the check down route. Might be the most emotionally equipped from a character, maturity and personality standpoint to handle all that goes with being an NFL Quarterback out of all the Quarterbacks going through the Draft Process. Besides Jake Locker, Stanzi is one of the more experienced QB’s entering the 2011 NFL Draft. Sophomore Year, a lot of people forget he came in and flat beat out incumbent QB Jake Christiensen who was considered one of the highest profile quarterback recruits Iowa ever had. Stanzi has great intangibles. Unquestioned leader of the Iowa Football team. Became a much better student of the game in 2010. Spent a lot of time watching film and putting forth energy to get better as a player in the film room. Played really well within the confines of the Iowa offensive philosphy. Much better throwing against man coverage than zone. Great when he knows where he is going pre snap. His forte as a passer is throwing the fade route, as he has tremendous touch throwing the football. Very good off play action. Shows the ability to be accurate on the run. Throws the slant ball very well. Knows how to operate under center. Has very quick feet setting up in the pocket. Not a super quick release but at the college level it was quick enough most of the time. In the NFL, he will have to quicken things up some. He doesn’t need an overhaul of mechanics by any means, just a release tweak and footwork enhancement. Shows the ability to make touch throws on a consistent basis. Good mechanics throwing the football. One of the best deep crossing route thrower’s in college football. Very good independent movement passer on the run. Shows the ability to get his head around quickly off play action. Puts tremendous touch on man coverage beating routes. Gives receivers a chance to make plays down the field with the location and placement of his throws. Has been in many tight situations late in ball games where he has made plays to WIN the game for his team. Has also came up short in tight game situations. Was in command of the Iowa offense. Had a lot of audible/run check responsibilities at the line of scrimmage, which is an indicator of the comfort level and confidence the coaching staff had in Stanzi. It is also something he will have to do in the NFL.
Negatives: Not as accurate as you would like him to be on intermediate and deep throws over the middle. Needs to work on hip rotation and opening his hips when throwing to his left. Too often was late on deep throws that resulted in batted balls, incompletions or interceptions. Pocket awareness is a bit suspect at times and that’s where some of the accuracy troubles come into play. Struggled at times making anticipatory “window” throws against zone coverage and throwing his WR’s open against zone coverage. Struggles throwing the football without a hitch up step. This is something that will hinder him if he does not correct it at the next level. Pauses at the top of his five step drops right before he releases the football giving defensive backs more time to break on throws. Even though Stanzi is very athletic, he seems to have heavy feet in the pocket when he sets up to throw. He is not light on his feet while in the pocket, however out of the pocket he is very nimble. The biggest problem Stanzi will have as he translates is getting his feet into position quickly to deliver the football accurately and to make sure his arm speed/release matches up to the speed of his brain and feet. Quick and smooth in his drops, but not tremendously graceful and fluid with his feet to arm relationship. Operated almost exclusively from under center, which is a positive, but he will be in the gun some at the next level. Did not make a lot of “wow” type throws. Does not have a big arm.
Ricky Stanzi really had a good season if you look at from a big picture standpoint. He started out very hot and continued to play well through October and on into November. He played poorly against Minnesota and in the Bowl game however. The sour taste Stanzi has in his mouth should only fuel him as he goes through the pre draft evaluation process. Honestly, I think his draft stock took a slight hit after those last two games. He is training with Tom Brady’s personal QB coach, Tom Martinez out in California. Stanzi has something to prove. Senior Bowl week is upon us so look for Stanzi to take advantage of his opportunity in Mobile and impress some people with both his play on the field and also with his character, mental makeup and personality. People will be talking about this guy as the week winds down. This is a guy who is only going to impress NFL scouts and GM’s in the interview process and at the NFL combine. That being said, he has some holes in his game. I think he has the ability to influence his draft stock as far as rounds go more than any other quarterback going through this process. Some people have him touted as a possible 3rd round pick and in the top 5 or 6 Quarterback range. Some NFL team is going to fall in love with Stanzi and draft him as a developmental quarterback probably somewhere in the later rounds. I expect Stanzi to be chosen between the 4th and 6th round of this years NFL draft. Stanzi has the “It” quality. He is the only quarterback in this years draft who I can clearly say has “It”. Is Stanzi as physically gifted as some of the other QB’s coming out this year? No he is not. But I would not bet against this kid. He is all in and fully committed. He is as an extremely hard worker who has high expectations of himself. He is a fiery, no nonsense type of leader who just wants to win. I honestly would not be shocked if Stanzi develops into a solid NFL starting quarterback within three to four years.