A Closer Look At QB Ricky Stanzi

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 16, 2011 – 8:55 am

It’s always fun to write about the NFL draft, but I must admit that this year it’s been both extra fun and extra easy to do so because of the high-profile class of QBs combined with the Vikings need at the QB position. Over the last several weeks, we’ve talked a lot about not just top prospects Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton, but also about the “next tier” of passers, such Jake Locker and Ryan Mallet.

But the depth of this year’s QB class doesn’t end with those 4 names. Not even close. Last week I wrote about the rise Colin Kaepernick is experiencing on many draftniks’ draft boards. And in the QB Collection you’ll find write-ups about Andy Dalton, Pat Devlin, Christian Ponder and even former Golden Gopher Adam Weber.

Also included in the QB Collection is former Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi, a guy we’re going to take a closer look at right now.

Greg Gabriel of the National Football Post has an excellent scouting report of Stanzi, which is what prompted the idea for this blog entry. Overall Gabriel views Stanzi as a QB who will take some time to develop but who will ultimately turn out to be a starting QB in the NFL who can play on a team that is a consistent winner. That sounds like the type of player that would fit in well with the Vikings, don’t you think?

Going deeper, though, here are a few things in Gabriel’s scouting report of Stanzi that stood out to me:
— “In the Iowa offense, Stanzi played from under center about 80 percent of the time, had to take 3, 5 and 7 step drops and read the whole field.”
— “He can set up very quickly from under center and he sets his feet and stays in balance. He has a smooth overhand delivery with a quick release. When he finds his target the ball is out of his hand quickly.”
— “When you watch the end zone tape you can see him go through his progression sometimes going from 1 to 2 to 3 and then making the throw to the open man. You seldom see him stare down receivers and force a throw.”
— “He has excellent intangibles and a strong passion for the game.”

Because Stanzi played in the Big 10, Minnesotans had plenty of opportunity to watch him play. What I saw was a gritty player who won a lot of games and played through some injuries. In 2010 he completed 64% of his passes and his TD-INT ratio was excellent – 25-6. Personally, I tend to naturally favor QBs who played 4 years in college and won a lot of games. There are exceptions…for example I like Locker, too, even though he didn’t win a lot of games in college. With Stanzi, though, you have a guy who won 27 of the 35 games he started over his career.

Just as I stated in my defense of Locker over questions regarding his accuracy, this blog entry is not a full-fledged endorsement of Stanzi as the guy the Vikings should select in the 2011 NFL Draft. But I will say that if Stanzi is the QB the Vikings end up with when all is said and done, the team will have succeeded in acquiring a player who represents a chance for long-term stability at the most important position in the NFL.

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