2019 NFL Draft: Nate Stanley is the second coming of Kirk Cousins

IOWA CITY, IOWA- NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Nate Stanley #4 of the Iowa Hawkeyes scrambles on a keeper during the fourth quarter in front of defensive end Antoine Miles #11 of the Purdue Boilermakers on November 18, 2017 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
IOWA CITY, IOWA- NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Nate Stanley #4 of the Iowa Hawkeyes scrambles on a keeper during the fourth quarter in front of defensive end Antoine Miles #11 of the Purdue Boilermakers on November 18, 2017 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) /
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Nate Stanley is one of the more interesting young quarterbacks in a divisive 2019 NFL draft class. So where does his scouting report put him?

Position: QB

School: Iowa

Year: Junior

Height: 6’5

Weight: 212 lbs

STRENGTHS:

  • Size won’t be a problem for teams. He seems to have the body type in both height and bulk that can handle the tough environment of the NFL.
  • Teams that are looking for a true pro-style quarterback likely won’t find anyone better prepared for the NFL. His passing mechanics from arm to feet are all polished to a shine.
  • Not a statue. He shows on a number of occasions that he can move. Not just as a scrambler but also on designed bootlegs while throwing with good accuracy on the run.
  • Very good pocket poise and awareness. Shows the feet to sidestep pressure and step up to avoid it without removing his eyes from looking downfield.
  • Doesn’t seem phased all that much by the blitz. Shows a constant knack for unloading the ball to his hot read whenever defenses try it.

A few things jump out about this play. First is the strength of Stanley to stay upright despite a defender on his leg. He doesn’t panic and just go down. He stays up, keeping his eyes down the field. Then he fires an absolute bullet to the receiver in the back of the end zone that was right on the money for a touchdown. Make no mistake. There aren’t a lot of QBs that can do that.

  • Not a rocket arm but can put enough zip on it to fit the ball into tight coverage windows and can also challenge defenses down the field vertically.
  • Does a fine job of not locking in on his primary receiver. Shows an ability to go through his progressions until he finds an open man.
  • Teams like a quarterback who can throw the ball from different angles. He’s shown a number of times he can do this with some sidearm deliveries.
  • Often at his best off play action. Does a good job of selling the fake and is comfortable with his back to the defense. Can get the ball out fast if pressured immediately.

WEAKNESSES:

  • Doesn’t always handle pressure that well. Tends to get uncomfortable and his throws lose some of their accuracy, often overthrowing easy passes.
  • Has a habit of still unloading the ball while being sacked. This can lead to some dangerous throws that lack velocity and could be gift interceptions in the NFL.
  • While he can throw the ball deep with plenty of strength, his deep accuracy is often wildly inconsistent. Sometimes he’ll hit guys in stride and others miss them by a mile.
  • Shows he’s not always the best when asked to sit back in shotgun and whip the ball around. Could be a product of the run-first offense he plays in but he tends to lose some mojo when asked.
  • Doesn’t always operate at this best when his team is trailing. Seems to get overwhelmed by the moment, leading to uncharacteristic mistakes.

Pro Comparison:  Kirk Cousins

Cousins always gets a bad rap but he’s quietly been one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. He operates with efficiency, gets the ball out fast and with accuracy. He’s especially good when pressured, showing a knack for unloading the ball to a hot receiver right before he gets sacked. It’s a maddening thing defenses hate. He can also run a little bit too. The big problem with him has been his inability to lift the team in big games.

Projection:  3rd Round

Stanley doesn’t quite have the wow factor that will push him into the top two rounds, but don’t be fooled. This is a young quarterback that teams will eye carefully as Day 2 draws to a close. He’s in that “sneaky” good category. Somebody who can run an offense with efficiency and make some big plays when asked. The big unknown is whether there’s a system that can unlock his ability to be that franchise type guy.