The old saying goes — it’s not about how you start, but it’s how you finish. For Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley, his senior season is a chance to show scouts that he is more than just a big, tools-in-flashes signal caller. Through two games in 2019, Stanley is making that statement as a legit NFL prospect.
Stanley’s first two seasons as the starter for the Hawkeyes look good on paper, but the film showed otherwise. His inconsistent accuracy, poor pocket presence, and erratic decision making overshadowed the flash plays on his film. This year so, however, Stanley looks like the most improved quarterback in the country. Why? He is finally playing with confidence — it’s as simple as that. Standing at 6’4, 240 pounds with gifted arm strength, raw talent has never been the question. The holdup has always been if he could ever channel those tools and translate it into consistent production. I know it’s against Rutgers and Miami (Ohio) but so far, Stanley has thrown at a completion rate of 64% for 500 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Look at this play here, for example. Too many times in 2017 and 2018, Stanley would hold back on his arm talent and put too much air on throws. The biggest thing I wanted to see from Stanley this year was simply — letting it rip. He clearly has the arm talent to do so, and I think he’s finally gained that confidence in his ability to take his game to the next level.
Here is another great sign of improvement from Stanley in his senior year. One of the biggest things he has struggled with the last two years has been maintaining composure in the pocket. Pressure has been his worst enemy, leading to most of his interceptions, but as you can see here, he stands tall and delivers a strike under duress with anticipation. He doesn’t wait for the receiver to turn before releasing the ball, sending it in with perfect placement right between the numbers.
Nate Stanley has had his moments the last two seasons, but he never seemed to take over in games, as his talent has always indicated. Consistency has been his Achilles heel, but from what I’ve seen so far in 2019, I’m a lot more optimistic on his projection to the next level. He’s finally starting to trust his arm talent and let it fly. This kind of newly-found confidence and momentum could be a game changer for his draft status, and I think we’re only scratching the surface of how good his senior year could be.