Why Have We Forgotten Stanzi?

There are so many fanposts and fanshots and comments about how excited people are to get Luck on our team, that it has made many users want to stop visiting AP altogether. Luck is, according to pretty much everyone, the best QB prospect since Manning, and whoever drafts him will have a super star QB for years to come. And having those QB's are very important. The passing game has become so good in today's NFL, that having either a great passing offense or great passing defense is required to win a Super Bowl.


It is equally obvious, even to non-Cassel haters like myself, that Cassel is not one of those QB's, and there's not much chance that he'll ever be one. As I said in my Chiefs season preview (which various ACL tears have made completely irrelevant):


Cassel had 6.2 NY/A (14th in NFL), which is pretty average. But this is somewhat concerning considering that last year Cassel had one of the best wide receivers in the league, a running back who had one of the best seasons in NFL history, and a very good pass-catching tight end. Very few QB's in the league have a situation as good as Cassel's, yet he continues to be average. So, when somebody says that Cassel sucks, they do have a bit of evidence to back that up.


But what those who want Luck (and to be clear, there's a difference between wanting Luck and wanting to lose to get him) are missing is that we have a young QB in the wings. From that same post:


However, I think that viewing him [Cassel] as a failure is wrong. He was brought in to be an average QB who didn't make mistakes, and that's exactly what he did last year (He had the 4th best Interception percentage last year with 1.6%). This is also why I think that drafting Stanzi was an excellent move. When Cassel was brought in we were in desperate need of a QB who could at least be consistently average while Pioli and Haley built a team around him. Now that the team has some stability and talent elsewhere, Pioli can concentrate on upgrading the QB position, which Stanzi will hopefully do in a year or two.


Stanzi, as of now, is our QB of the future. So while all this talk about Luck is going on, Stanzi has become the forgotten man. This is probably due to him being drafted in the fifth round, but don't be fooled. Plenty of highly drafted QB's have flopped (ex. Russel, Leaf) while many late round and undrafted QB's have gone on to Hall of Fame careers (ex. Brady, Moon). So what do we have in Stanzi?


I don't know, since my forte is analyzing stats, which don't really carry over that well from college to the pros. But I do know that Arrowhead Pride is the best source for Chiefs coverage, so I went through the archives to see what I could find. I also used Google, but finding stuff on Stanzi was surprisingly hard.

Let's go over the non-AP sites first. Here's a quick and dirty on by KFFL:



  • Size (6-foot-4 3/8, 223 pounds)
  • Intelligent - understands the game very well
  • <a class='sbn-auto-link' href=''>Ricky Stanzi</a>, draft prospect
    Borderline starter quality
    Strong character - team leader
  • Drastically improved accuracy and decision-making skills as a senior
  • Comes from a pro-style system
  • Displays on-field moxie 


  • Greatly lacks mobility
  • History of turning over the ball prior to his senior year
  • Limited upside due to a lack of athleticism
  • Average arm strength
  • Inconsistent footwork


The positives look really good. Many busts are caused by poor character, and it looks like there's very little concern there. And, to me at least, the negatives don't look all that bad. Besides Michael Vick, nobody really cares about QB mobility. Remember that play of Manning running for a game-winning first down against the Raiders last year? I'm sure half the people in my Physics classes here could run faster than that. Turning it over is concerning, until the "prior to his senior year" part. If anything, it should be a positive, since it shows Stanzi is willing to improve his weaknesses.


The athleticism part is like the mobility. Did you see Brady's combine workout? Not exactly what you'd call athletic. Arm strength matters, but isn't as important as everyone makes it out to be. Montana didn't have a particularly strong arm, and he ended up doing pretty well. (Check out this video from NFL's Top 100 at 0:55 for example). The inconsistent footwork is also not too troubling. It seems like something that is easy to fix.


One I like is the Fantasy Football Metrics article on Stanzi (they actually had a couple, but this one was the main one). He's higher on Stanzi than just about anybody else, comparing him to Tom Brady:


When I went into to see why Stanzi was so good in our ratings, it wasn't just one good thing (it never is to achieve the scores the future elites ultimately did). It's just that Stanzi is well above average in every metric we judge, with no red-flags or outliers. His numbers parallel nicely against the best of today's NFL QBs data in college. When I started filtering Stanzi's metrics in our system and considered similar QBs around his height and weight...out popped Tom Brady. What is eerie and cheesy about that is, when I started researching Stanzi more because of the high score that popped up in our system analysis -- I went and watched some game tape and when I looked at him I exclaimed, "he looks just like Tom Brady". Tall, thin, accurate, steady. When I then filtered our college QB database of metrics and Brady was sitting there as a best match, I was amazed and felt weird at the same time. It's cliché' to say "the next Tom Brady", but the numbers are saying -- Ricky Stanzi might be the next Tom Brady.


A respected scouting report on Brady in 2000 pre-draft (found on a Google search) = "Poor build, very skinny and narrow, lacks mobility and the ability to avoid the rush, lacks a strong arm."

A scouting report I just read on Stanzi = "Average arm, nothing spectacular about his throws...Not a great runner...Limited ceiling because of his average physical talents..."


He also has a chart comparing their numbers. I find the scouting report on Brady interesting, and I wish he would have linked to it. I think it shows exactly why big arms and athleticism are overrated.


But the most convincing part is that this pops out of a completely objective algorithm that they created. It's not just some Iowa fan saying this, or somebody wanting to make a bold prediction so that they can say how smart they were if they happened to get lucky. They created this specifically to try and see how college performance leads to NFL performance, and it says Stanzi has a good chance of doing well.


The main issue is that this is a very recent formula they created, using stats that are simply not available for most players prior to the 90s. That means that it has not been tested, and so there is the very real possibility that it doesn't work that well.


This is the only video I could find of Stanzi that wasn't just highlights. (Although I didn't look too hard, so don't think there is definitely nothing else out there.) It's supposedly every throw from the Senior Bowl. It's a little blurry, but you can tell where the ball went from how everyone reacted.



0:08- Looks like a nice throw. Good, but nothing spectacular.

0:30- I don't see how you can call that anything but exceptional. Under pressure and still threw it to a spot where only his guy could get it.

1:06- Again, got the job done, but nothing crazy.

1:39- Avoided pressure and then threw it away to avoid the sack. Seems like a good play to me.

1:52- I have no idea where the ball went, but it was obviously a bad throw.

2:09- Incomplete, but I think it might have been the receiver's fault. Hard to tell for sure.

2:24- Avoided pressure and made the throw. Very nice play.

3:08- Bad throw, plain and simple.

3:20- Again, got the job done, nothing spectacular.

3:40 Too hard to see. Incomplete I think


Overall, this video seems to show a lot of good things. I think Stanzi did a very good job avoiding pressure, which seems to be what he did most of the preseason games.


And speaking about preseason games, we finally get to the Arrowhead Pride posts I found on him. BJ Kissel did some fanposts on the preseason games, with some video. They are here and here. The first one he was commenting more on the blocking, and the second one he pointed out that that throw was much harder than it looks.


tmurawsk had a fanpost after the draft about the draft he wanted in order to grade it an A. He (or she, I shouldn't assume) said:


Wow, do I love this pick. Sticking with QB Ricky Stanzi here. Great value and great need. I see a lot of similarities between Stanzi and Cassel, so if Cassel ever goes down I don't see us having as tough of a time replacing him e.g. Croyle.


That seems kind of funny now. If he would have compared him favorably to Cassel today, people would have lost their shit. citadelchief did a mock draft and, will you look at that, he got two players right. They were in the wrong spots, but still, not too bad. He, of course, picked Stanzi right:


4. Ricky Stanzi - QB - Iowa: No QB showed the same kind of improvement that Stanzi did from 2009 to 2010.  The big criticism against him was that he threw a lot of interceptions...well that changed in 2010 as he had a TD-INT ratio very similar to our own Matt Cassel.  He provides a very similar skill set to Cassel and also flashes Farve-esqu leadership ability having led the Hawkeyes to numerous come from behind victories.  He could easily take Tyler Palko's job, and would be a contender for the #2 role.  Probably best suited to hold the clipboard for a season or two as the emergency 3rd QB.  Jim Zorn will love working with a guy like this.


Again with the Cassel comparisons. But citadelchief isn't done yet. He did another post, this time during the end of last season, which mentions Stanzi again:


Ricky Stanzi - Draft - Iowa: He's a gamer.  The big mark against him going into his senior year was interceptions.  He made some adjustments and ended up having a terrific senior year.  He led the Hawkeyes on countless scoring drives late in games to make the Hawkeyes relevant the last few years.


He still looks like a gamer to me. Everest made a post before the draft about how we should trade back from the 21st pick, and Pioli listened. He does a mock draft, and mentioned Stanzi:


4. Ricky Stanzi QB Iowa- Developemental project for Zorn. Needs work but has all of the intangibles and the potential to be a good player in the league. Has shown considerable improvement during his career at Iowa. He’s a born leader, studies film obsessively, and is a clutch player when the game is on the line. Good measureables as well. My favorite of the mid-late round prospects I think he could turn out to be a great pickup (plus we can finally send Croyle packing).


I'm not so sure about good measurables, but I do think he'll be a good player. ChiefsfanJon also did a mock draft (who knew mock drafts were so popular on here? Oh, yeah, right.). And, yet again, it mentioned Stanzi. It's almost like I was looking specifically for Stanzi posts:


2010 Stats: Stanzi has completed close to 70% of his passes with 10 touchdowns and only 2 turnovers.

Justification: Yes 4 straight picks on the offense shows a lot of confidence in our defense but honestly only NT warrants a high pick for our defense and outside of Powe i don't like any of the prospects at that position. Stanzi is a highly intelligent QB coming from a pro style offense and already possesses chemistry with our top receiver Tony Moeaki. He has prototypical size and above average accuracy although he does have question marks about arm strength. Whether you doubt Cassel or not as a pro QB he is 29 years old and having a young QB to groom as your number 3 is never a bad thing.


I don't think Moeaki can be described as our top reciever as long as Bowe is here, but I completely agree that it's always a good idea to have a developmental QB. Again with the ChiefsfanJon, again with the mock draft, and again with the Stanzi:


5. Ricky Stanzi QB Iowa

Another pick that to me screams Pioli. The kid is a leader and has a competitive fire in him. He just needs to learn to calm down and play the game. He sometimes takes unnecessary risks and it hurt him in previous years but this year he has played lights out and if he continues to develop he has a big league arm.


Again, I don't know about the big arm, but he did play lights out last year. And last, but not least, HisDirkness reviewed the draft, and said this about Stanzi:


90% of the mock drafts I read were right. Not sure if it was Scott Pioli's relationship with Kirk Ferentz, or the disintegration of Crodie Broyle's tenure in Kansas City, but they all had KC snagging Stanzi sooner or later. I love this pick. Stanzi draws a lot of comparisons to Tom Brady with his pocket awareness and mobility. He went 26-9 as a starter at Iowa and led them to an Orange Bowl victory in 2009 before losing a bevy of close games in 2010. However, his stats in 2010 (25/6 TD/INT) dwarf his '09 numbers (17/15). Hopefully, this ends whatever was left of Crodie, guaranteeing atleast one area of improvement for the Chiefs from 2010 to 2011.


So, with all that, what do we have in our young QB-of-the-future? I have no idea, but I do know that this is the longest article/post/anything ever written on Stanzi. Probably.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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