Strengths: Ricky Stanzi is a well built quarterback with ideal size for the NFL. With his big frame, Stanzi shows the ability to slide step pressure within the pocket. His ability to move from within the pocket consistently stood out to me. While avoiding sacks, Stanzi also does a good job of keeping his eye level downfield, continuing to follow through with his pass progression. He has a good feel in the pocket and understands when to tuck the ball and run. He will check all options before giving up on a play.
Stanzi is proficient and technically sound in his pass drops, looking comfortable in each of his 3 step, 5 step, and 7 step drops (albeit 7 step drops at Iowa are hard to come by). Does a good job of setting his base wide enough to avoid over striding, and transfers his weight in a smooth manner. Nice over the top delivery with good arm action and a quick enough release, the ball looks good coming out of his hand. Release point is what you want to see, and never has trouble seeing coverages or getting passes defensed at the line of scrimmage. Has adequate anticipation of coverage's and passing lanes.
Accuracy in the short to intermediate passing game is excellent. An efficient passer who sticks the football on his receivers' numbers. Consistently puts the ball in a position where his receiver can pick up yards after the catch (YAC). His timing on these routes, similarly to Andy Dalton, is able to recompense for Stanzi's lack of arm strength and velocity. Generally does a strong job on pre-snap reads, adjusting to the defense's coverage and knowing where he wants to go with the football. Picks up most of his completions in short passing situations.
Stanzi's strong mental makeup and short term memory are his biggest strengths. A student of the game, Stanzi a senior QB, played in a pro-style offense at Iowa dropping back from center a majority of the time. Matt Bowen of the National Football Post said Stanzi, "[I]s widely regarded by league personnel as a dedicated student of the game in the film room." Stnazi devotes nearly 20 hours of each game week studying for his next opponent. Coach Kirk Ferentz says about Stanzi, "Nobody is more committed than him, and I’m saying that with all due respect to a lot of good guys. But he’s right at the top of the list.”
Early in his career at Iowa, Stanzi struggled mightily with interceptions and slow starts. Heading into his senior 2010 season, he had a TD/INT ratio of 31/25; hardly spectacular and evidence of his inconsistent decision making. The positive spin off is that although he started games slowly and struggled with turnovers, Stanzi would never let previous mistakes cloud his confidence. Stanzi is quick to forget his interceptions and immediately readies himself to make the correct pass on the next series. His body language is always motivating and positive, and his teammates seem to feed off of that.
In his senior season, Stanzi finally put it all together in terms of consistently making sound decisions with the football. From the 2009 to 2010 seasons, Ricky Stanzi increased his touchdowns by 8 and reduced his interceptions by 9 (TD/INT ratio 2009: 17-15 . 2010: 25-6). Stanzi's completion percentage skyrocketed from 56% to 64%, and he improved his QB passer rating by 26 points (131 in '09 to 157).Stanzi eclipsed 220 completions (221 to be exact) and threw for more than 3,000 yards (3,004).
The improved decision making is evident when you take a look at his game logs from 2009 to 2010. In '09, Stanzi threw 2 or more interceptions (5 versus Indiana in week 9) in 5 games. Moving forward to 2010, Stanzi threw 2 interceptions just one game, being in his final collegiate game versus Missouri in the Insight Bowl.
|Ricky Stanzi after beating Missouri and QB Blaine Gabbert|
Weaknesses: With all of the positive attributes listed above, Stanzi still has very average arm strength, lacks zip or velocity, and is inconsistent when throwing intermediate to deep passing routes. Very spotty accuracy and ball placement on deep throws over the middle, this is where he gets into trouble with interceptions. Whenever he gets a late read or progression response, he lacks the throwing velocity to fit the ball into tightly contested windows. Has to be spot on with his timing in order to complete NFL caliber throws.
Doesn't have excellent anticipation and will aim the ball to his receivers at times, thus removing needed velocity and often resulting in INTs. Will lock on to one receiver because of something he sees in his pre snap read and ultimately forces bad throws as a result. Much of his mistakes come from pressing; nothing is open and he tries to complete a pass in tight coverage. The lack of elite arm strength is intensified when the pocket collapses and he tries to force the ball downfield without setting his feet.
Wasn't asked to make a whole lot of difficult throws and has limited tape of such throws. In its simplest form, the Iowa Hawkeyes offense is tailored to make easy throws for quarterback Ricky Stanzi, and provide running lanes for star running backs Adam Robinson and Jewell Hampton to run behind a stout, senior filled offensive line.
Best fit: Overall, Stanzi is an intriguing evaluation for the fact that many of his negative aspects spill over into his positive attributes, as well as positives flowing into negatives. To me, Stanzi is best suited to go to a team with a strong running game, solid offensive line, and athletic receivers that can pick up yards after the catch. He needs to be in an offensive scheme that utilizes slant-stick routes, utilizing a variety of short to intermediate timing routes. In this way Stanzi's film room devotion and work ethic, short to intermediate passing accuracy, and sound footwork can be best utilized.
Jay Gruden and Cincinnati might be interested in the 3rd round should they pass on a QB at picks 4 and 35. The Bengals need a spark of leadership for not only their offense, but their franchise as a whole. The expected release of Terrell Owens, expiring timeline for Chad Ochocinco (soon to be Johnson again), and new young receiving options drafted over the past several years, suggests that the Bengals are turning a new page in their organization. The laughing stock of the league in terms of character issues, the Bengals have more arrests over the last 10 years than any other team in the NFL (might even have more than all other 31 teams combined?). Stanzi could be developed and groomed here as a starter, and with time could have a nice NFL career.
That being said, the best fit would be an NFL team that is already established with a signal caller and strong offense. Stanzi could be given a flyer by a team like New England or Indianapolis, as both teams lack solid depth behind their star QBs Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
Stanzi could very well become a solid starter in a few years and go on to enjoy a nice career in the league, and he could just as easily bounce from team to team as a stop gap quarterback and career backup QB if not placed in the correct offensive system.
Mel Kiper Jr. from ESPN is convinced Cleveland is the best fit. Coach Mike Holmgren has stated that the team will in fact draft a quarterback after the 2nd round.
X-Factor: How will teams view his arm strength and velocity? Due to necessity at the position, will a team over draft Ricky Stanzi and expect too much from him too early? The later Stanzi gets drafted, the better in my mind. He will have less pressure, and will be even more motivated to prove others wrong for passing on him.
Where will he be drafted: 3rd to 4th Round
Where should he be drafted: Depending on the team drafting: 3rd if I have an open competition for my starter, Anywhere 4th or later if I have a veteran in place and Stanzi is still available.
NFL Comparison: John David Booty, QB, Houston Texans
2009 Ricky Stanzi highlights "Love it or Leave it" haha, Stanzi is a "real American"
2010-2011 Ricky Stanzi highlights