NFL DRAFT 2011 ~ Statistical Analysis of Ricky Stanzi

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News: Ricky Stanzi 2011 - Fantasy Football Draft 2011

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NFL DRAFT 2011 - QB

By R.C. Fischer

NFL Draft 2011: Statistical Analysis of Ricky Stanzi, the Best QB in the 2011 NFL Draft and/or the next Tom Brady?

*An on-going series of putting college QBs in our mathematical analysis. We don’t have all the needed data until the 2011 NFL Combine results, but we can assume some of it (for now) and we have all the game performance/statistics.

See this link for details on the College QB rating system -- Predicting the Unpredictable…Projecting a College QB to the NFL with a Mathematical Formula

Ricky Stanzi, Iowa - NFL Draft 2011

I know you are going to find this completely insane...

New readers, I may have already lost you with the title...but bear with me on this. At worst, this will just be an interesting read and something you will say "no way" to. At best, this will be a tremendous call and huge validation for our mathematical model's ability to project college QBs to the NFL. (I also have a few years to hide from it potentially too!)

I have to confess I did not watch many Iowa Hawkeye football games this season. As the college QBs start their journey to the NFL, I get more interested for the Fantasy Football aspect. This season, I was aware of the usual "big names" -- Newton, Locker, Gabbert, Mallett and had been intrigued by Andy Dalton...but I have to say when I saw Ricky Stanzi's name on a list -- I wondered, "how did he make it in the QBs list for the 2011 NFL Draft"? Don't ask me why I had that reaction, I just know I did. Big-10 bias (against), maybe? Flashbacks to Chuck Long, perhaps? Whatever the reason, I just had an irrational gut reaction. Which is why I love what I do, I try to eliminate the emotional and just rely on the data. Not knowing Stanzi, I was curious as how the analysis would turn out.

As I input the key game/tougher opponent game data for Ricky Stanzi into our algorithm for analyzing college QBs, I just kept saying "that's pretty good" after each game entered...and it just kept rolling. Before I went to take a look at Stanzi's overall total score in our system I thought, "this could be pretty good". When I did finally look at the overall rating, it wasn't good -- it was great. It was college-to-NFL projected "elite". High up on the list wedged in-between Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez, and slightly above Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers. I had to go back check a 2nd and 3rd time to see if I had made an error. No error...

Can Ricky Stanzi really be a future elite NFL QB? Can he really be the # 1 overall best QB (according to our system right now)? Right now he is for us. A lot of this potential stardom projection is riding on his Wonderlic scores from the NFL Combine, a bad score can tumble Stanzi right out of great and into maybe good or mediocre. Assuming an average/good Wonderlic score, Ricky Stanzi is the hidden gem QB of 2011.

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What about Stanzi makes him pop in our system?

NO Red-flags in our system!

We found multiple things that future NFL elite QB's had in common in college. Subsequently, we found things future NFL bust/weak QB's had in common as well -- we called them, simply, "red-flag metrics". Some red-flags for the QBs are historical killers (90%+ probable), such as -- QB's with low Wonderlic scores, "short" (in height) QB's, high or low ratios on key advanced metrics we have on various passing stats. Just one red-flag is one foot in the grave for their future NFL elite prospects, 2 red-flags is almost an assured question mark on even being good in the NFL, 3+ red-flags is almost guaranteed a bust in our system (3+ red-flag QB examples in our system = Ryan Leaf, Tim Tebow, Chad Henne, Max Hall, Rex Grossman, Derek Anderson and Tavaris Jackson...among others. Jay Cutler is the probably the best NFL QB with 3+ red-flags in our system).

No red-flags is just not avoiding trouble, it is several key metrics that when we look back at history -- the QBs with particular red-flags in our system were not as good as hyped and/or "busted" from lofty expectations. Perhaps a list of current QBs in our mathematical system that have NO red-flags, will impress you on the fact that Ricky Stanzi could be special.

The 14 QBs with no red-flags of 60+ studied in the last decade (and a few outside of the last decade) *in alphabetical order:

  1. Bradford, Sam

  2. Brady, Tom

  3. Elway, John (sketchy, we have yet to be able fully break him down due to some missing data...but of what we have, he has none)

  4. Flacco, Joe

  5. Kolb, Kevin

  6. Leftwich, Byron

  7. Luck, Andrew

  8. Manning, Peyton

  9. Palmer, Carson

  10. Pike, Tony (may not belong here, we have a sketchy Wonderlic data point we have assumed neutral until we know...but if bad, he would fall off list)

  11. Pennington, Chad

  12. Rodgers, Philip

  13. Roethlisberger, Ben

  14. Sanchez, Mark

14 QBs with no red-flags. Take away Andrew Luck because he is not even draft eligible. Take away John Elway and Tony Pike, because of some possible data question marks on our end and we have 11 QB's who have played in the NFL -- with 9 of the 11 (82%) as good, great and good/potentially great on this list. The 2 misses in our system so far are (1) Byron Leftwich is not elite, maybe not even good. (2) Kevin Kolb is incomplete (however, I think he will ultimately be star of this magnitude...those of you that have been with the site awhile know my Kolb love affair). If Kolb hits, then our NO red-flag indicator for future success would be up to a 91% accuracy of predicting NFL good/greatness.

It's a laundry list of mostly impressive QBs. Now add to that list Ricky Stanzi, the only 2011 QB prospect with no red-flags in our system currently. (Andrew Luck would have been too). I'm as shocked as you are...Ricky Stanzi, really?

 

Great against better competition

Stanzi had 3 major tests in conference in 2010, a Big-10 Conference in which Stanzi has started for 3 seasons...and these teams have a book on him. Facing Wisconsin (11-2), Michigan State (11-2) and Ohio State (12-1), Stanzi put up the following stats:

  • 7 Passing TDs and NO Interceptions

  • The elite QBs of the NFL threw for between 15-19 Pass Attempts per Passing TD in "key" games, and some QBs hit as low (good) as 10-12 Pass Attempts per Passing TD. Stanzi averaged a very low (good) 11.9 Passing TDs per Pass Attempts in these 3 big matchups

  • Besides a stellar/perfect NO interceptions in these big 3 games, Stanzi hit on a 67.4% Completion Percentage as well

Iowa/Stanzi played the Arizona Wildcats this season, coached by defensive guru Mike Stoops. Stoops/Arizona only allowed two QBs to throw for 3+ TDs in a game against them this season -- not Andrew Luck (he had 2), but it was Oregon's Darron Thomas and yes...Ricky Stanzi.

 

Better than Gabbert in the 2010 Bowl Game vs. Missouri?

This may be crazy talk too, but hang with me...

Stanzi statistically bombed in one game in 2010 -- the Insight Bowl Game matchup against Missouri. Stanzi had no TDs and 2 INTs. Stanzi's only 2 INT game of the season. In that game Blaine Gabbert had 434 yards passing and won the hearts of everyone who just watched the game from a stat tally perspective. But was Gabbert really the better QB that day?

434 yards for Gabbert is awesome, but it was on 57 Pass Attempts. Stanzi only had 21 pass attempts in this game, in part because Iowa RB Marcus Coker had 33 carries for 219 yards. Why pass if you can run all over Mizzu, and win (which Iowa did)? Looking at the passing productivity by breaking it down to the view from the per passing attempts...a quick look at Gabbert vs. Stanzi in the Bowl Game from a different perspective:

  • Yards per Pass Attempt = 7.6 for Gabbert, 9.5 for Stanzi

  • Yards per Completion = 10.6 for Gabbert, 18.2 for Stanzi

If both QBs equally had 35 pass attempts at their above pace, Gabbert would have thrown for 266 yards to Stanzi's 332.

Not to say Stanzi had a great game...because it was his worst game of 2010. It's to point out that looking only at the totals -- Stanzi vs. Gabbert total stats in this game would have made Stanzi forgettable and Gabbert brilliant, but it really had to do more with Pass Attempt totals. Stanzi wasn't as bad as it seemed, and Gabbert wasn't near as impressive as his 434 yards would show. Gabbert also threw 2 INTs as well in this game (like Stanzi), and 1 TD.

 

Ricky Stanzi as the next Tom Brady?

Blasphemy I know...

Please keep in mind, I have no loyalty to the University of Iowa. I had seen Ricky Stanzi play a little before I started this research. Of what I remember, I didn't really remember anything great (or bad). Stanzi never registered anything in my mind. This statement comparing him to Brady is just as crazy to me as it is to you. However, I am now suddenly very intrigued (and hand-cuffed) to Ricky Stanzi with this statement.

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 few key metrics on Brady & Stanzi below:

  • "Adj" means just key games/better competition -- weighted for strength of opponent

  • "per 35 att" numbers are the key games, weighted for strength of opponent and then translated into an average as if every QB had an equal 35 Pass Attempts per game all the time, and thus what would each QB produce if they had 35 passes per game based on the key games their final college season.

QBYrCollege HWadj Comp PctAdj Yds per Compadj Pass Att per TDadj Pass Att Per INT Yds per game 35 AttTDs per game 35 AttINTs per game 35 Att
Brady, Tom1999Michigan 76.321164.6%11.815.037.9 266.32.30.9
Stanzi, Ricky2010Iowa 76.122163.6%12.515.557.7 277.62.30.6

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..."

 

Ricky Stanzi Overall Score = 1.012

*see historical rating chart on link to original study =  Predicting the Unpredictable…Projecting a College QB to the NFL with a Mathematical Formula

As I re-examine the numbers, another thing that is rare on Stanzi is -- that as we refine the numbers to looking at just the better opponents, then adding in a weighted system to the most difficult opponents -- that is where Stanzi's passing metrics actually increase. Where most all other QBs in our  mathematical  system tail off a little (understandably with facing the toughest competition) as we "weight" the stats for opponents difficulty...Stanzi actually improves his performance against the better competition.

All this is great for Ricky Stanzi now, but we're still assuming some data. If Stanzi bombs or underperforms the Wonderlic...no more Tom Brady comparisons, and down he will fall from possible elite to possible just mediocre/good. If Stanzi scores well on the Wonderlic don't be shocked if Stanzi starts moving from a current potential 4-5th Round pick to a 2nd-3rd Round pick...and then don't be shocked if he actually becomes a first round actual selection...you heard it hear first (again, unless he bombs the Wonderlic). If Stanzi doesn't work his way into the 1st Round -- I'll bet a "smart" team snags Stanzi (like a NE, PIT, PHI, SD, etc) in the 2nd-3rd Round.

 

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Fantasy Football Writer R C FischerBy R.C. Fischer
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