Congratulations, Kansas City Chiefs fans! You've made the wonderful decision to draft Ricky Stanzi! Like any responsible selector, you're no doubt filled with questions about your new draft pick. We here at Black Heart Gold Pants will try our best to answer any questions you might have.
Is this Ricky Stanzi guy any good? Yeah, he's good. In fact, as a three-year starter, he's about as good as we've seen around here. You just have to remember that he's an Iowa quarterback, and that means he might not be experienced at certain things you want.
What the hell does that mean? Iowa's offense is built on the run, and Ricky built himself into the ideal quarterback for that system. He's a phenomenal play action quarterback, and is especially accurate when throwing off the bootleg or while rolling out. He improved markedly from his sophomore year to his junior year, and again from junior to senior seasons. He's a natural leader. If you're picking him as the final piece of your puzzle, as someone who can spend some time learning your offense and compliment a solid offensive line and competent running game, you'll like what you get. What he's not is a savior, mainly because he doesn't have the arm for it.
Everyone says he can't throw the deep ball. Is that true? Not exactly. When it comes to throwing the "deep ball" in the form of the arcing 40-yard bomb, he's actually pretty good. In fact, 2010 Iowa relied on the deep pass more than just about any other Ferentz-era Iowa offense -- Stanzi's average touchdown pass covered 20 yards, and he threw six touchdown passes from 30+ yards out -- and was extremely effective until November, when the weather got nasty and the wind knocked down any pass with some air under it. Not coincidentally, that's exactly the time the wheels came off for Iowa.
Where Stanzi's arm strength was lacking, especially in his interception-laden junior season, was on deep out routes. The sort of 15-yard out from the pocket that is the bread and butter of teams like Indianapolis simply isn't in his repertoire, and was consistently deflected or intercepted when attempted. If you're going to use Stanzi to attack the sidelines, you'll either have to rely on the skinny post to get the receiver inside the defender, run the fly route at cover 2 against a safety who is too slow to react, or roll him out to cut down the distance.
What about his leadership skills? Without peer, at least on this incarnation of Iowa. You could say a lot of things about Stanzi: A bit to careless with the football at times, streaky accuracy, needs a haircut. But you can't deny the fact that the guy won. In his first 25 games as Iowa's starting quarterback, the Hawkeyes were 21-4. At one point, Stanzi's team had won 17 consecutive games he started and finished, including three wins over top 10 opponents and nine wins by 10 points or less. Ironically, it was his senior season, when Ricky was unquestionably playing his best football, that Iowa faltered. He leaves with the highest winning percentage of any multi-year starter at Iowa since Randy Duncan took the Hawkeyes to consecutive Rose Bowls in the 1950's. Never has a teammate publicly said a discouraging word about him. Never has his dedication or work ethic been questioned. And he's one patriotic son of a bitch. At the end of the day, when he has the guys around him to succeed, the guy wins football games. There's something to be said for that.
What is this I've read about 'Stanziballs'? That's disgusting.
Oh, you mean interceptions? Yeah, he kind of had a problem as a sophomore and junior with what ESPN's NFL guys call 'gunslinging' or 'playing like a kid out there.' Occasionally, Ricky would try to fit a pass into an area where no pass could go. He would also not see cornerbacks or linebackers from time to time, leading to what appeared to be inexplicable interceptions thrown directly to the opposition. Every once in a while -- especially in the 2009 Indiana game, played in constant 25 mph winds from north to south -- he'd overestimate his arm strength and float a pass to a safety. It was a serious problem for his first two years under center. But during the offseason before his senior season -- again, we go back to leadership skills -- he worked constantly in the film room, and senior Stanzi had few of the interception-inducing tendencies of junior Stanzi. He'll be starting over to a certain extent at the next level, but he's proven he can defeat that demon.
Anything else we should know? No real injury concerns; he missed two games with a severely sprained ankle at the end of 2009, otherwise nothing of note. Other than that? Well...he kinda hates hippies, which basically rules out the NFC West (hell, Seattle is coached by a hippie). There's not much else to warn you about. Despite the string of bad results at the end of his senior year, the man is basically a folk hero (and dreamboat) around here. You're not just drafting a quarterback with Ricky Stanzi; you're drafting an entire fan base.
One more thing: Why 'Ricky'? What is he, like 8 years old? I know, right? We've been trying to get everyone to call him Dick Stanzi for years, to no avail. Maybe you'll have better luck.