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Nathan Stanley
AP
QB KlassRoom

Quantifying Quarterbacks: Iowa QB Nate Stanley

by Derrik Klassen
Updated On: March 11, 2020, 2:26 am ET

Quantifying Quarterbacks is an NFL Draft focused quarterback charting project geared toward providing as much information about as much of a quarterback's recent career as possible. Over 20 data points are recorded for any given pass attempt, ranging from down-and-distance, personnel grouping, play-action, depth of target, accuracy, and much more. Quantifying Quarterbacks charts the entirety of a quarterback's final college season, as well as a smaller sample (four games) from their previous season. All of this charting is done manually by me during and after the college football season. For a more in-depth look at what exactly Quantifying Quarterbacks is, here is a link to last year's final product: 2019 Quantifying Quarterbacks.


Nathan Stanley Charting Profile
Distance (Usage Rate) Left Outside Left Middle Right Middle Right Outside Total
20+  (16.01%) 4/13 (1 TD, 1 INT) 5/14 (1 TD) 4/7 (2 TD) 8/23 (1 TD, 2 INT) 21/57 (5 TD, 3 INT)
16-20 (6.18%) 2/5 3/5 2/3 5/9  (2 TD) 14/22 (2 TD)
11-15 (16.85%) 11/22 (2 TD) 10/15 (1 TD) 9/13 (1 TD) 7/10 (1 TD) 37/60 (5 TD)
6-10 (14.89%) 7/10 8/12 10/14 11/17 36/53
1-5 (28.09%) 11/16 22/34 (1 TD, 3 INT) 27/36 (1 TD, 1 INT) 13/14 73/100 (2 TD, 4 INT)
0 (15.17%) 2/2 18/22 (1 TD, 1 INT) 25/27 (1 TD) 2/3 47/54 (2 TD, 1 INT)
Total (356 plays) 37/68 (3 TD, 1 INT) 66/102 (4 TD, 4 INT) 77/100 (5 TD, 1 INT) 46/70 (4 TD, 2 INT) 228/346 (16 TD, 8 INT)

Games Charted: Wisconsin (2018), Maryland (2018), Penn State (2018), Nebraska (2018), Iowa State (2019), Miami OH (2019), Rutgers (2019), MTSU (2019), Michigan (2019), Purdue (2019), Wisconsin (2019), Minnesota (2019)

CHARTING EXTRAS

Blatant Drops: 13

Forced Adjustments: 12 (3.37%)

Contested Drops: 20

Passes Defended: 22

Explosive Plays: 37 (10.39%)

Throwaways: 10

Though a minor part of the charting profile, Nate Stanley threw the ball away far more than I expected. Stanley has an aversion to pressure, which we will get to later, and his response is often to just kill the play. While that is certainly the right call in some instances, Stanley is often a bit too willing to give up on a play immediately if things go wrong. Problem solving on the fly isn’t a strength of his. 

On a more important note, Stanley’s explosive play rate is uninspiring. Though it could be worse and Stanley won’t come in with the worst rate in my database, he is much closer to the bottom than he is to the top. Part of the issue is Iowa’s offense is not necessarily built to enable explosive plays all the time, but Stanley also struggled to do his part, particularly due to his struggles as a deep passer. Stanley left a number of easy touchdowns on the field in 2019. 

 

ACCURACY AND ENVIRONMENT

Adjusted Accuracy: 66.03%

Outside the Pocket Percentage: 13.76%

Adjusted Accuracy Outside the Pocket: 57.96%

Under Pressure Percentage: 17.42%

Adjusted Accuracy Under Pressure: 40.81%

Most Common Personnel Package: 34.55%

Shotgun Percentage: 78.44%

Empty Formations Frequency: 8.15% 

Play-Action Percentage: 23.03%

Play-Action Adjusted Accuracy: 57.32%

Designed Rollout Frequency: 7.02%

I can’t say I am surprised that Stanley now holds the lowest adjusted accuracy score in the class. Though I still have Washington State’s Anthony Gordon and Hawaii’s Cole McDonald left on deck, I’m not counting on either of them to score worse than Stanley. Stanley is likely in sole possession of last place as far as accuracy goes. 

Part of Stanley’s accuracy score is how he fared down the field. Like Jacob Eason, the strong arm did him no favors in guiding the ball down the field he wanted to. Stanley’s 36.84% accuracy beyond 20 yards is the worst in the class, trailing Eason and Jake Fromm. Stanley has a habit of letting his deep throws hang in the air for far too long rather than driving / arcing them to the location they need to be. It’s as if his strategy for throwing deep is literally to just heave it up and hope it connects. 

Furthermore, Stanley just was not average-or-better in any area beyond the 1-5 yard area. Stanley’s work in the 6-10 area was shaky, even worse in the 11-15, and we just went over how atrocious his deep passing was. Anything that was not a simple slant, shoot, swing, speed out, or hitch was not a consistent throw for Stanley. There is no way to build an NFL offense around that. 

Worse yet, Stanley’s pressure numbers are among the worst in the class so far. Based on the film, Stanley’s awful pressure numbers check out. Stanley has a tendency to completely short-circuit any time he is thrown off his rhythm. Though there are some instances where he can stand tall and deliver if he is already mid-motion when pressure is arriving, but Stanley too often drops his eyes, bails to a random direction, and prances around like a chicken with his head cut off, hoping that something opens up while he is aimlessly jogging around. There is almost never a sense of control or creativity to his game when he gets pressured. He barely got away with that in the BIG and he certainly won’t in the NFL. 


As dumb as it is, the one thing that may keep NFL teams around is how often Stanley played from under center and executed deep-drop play-action concepts in which he had to turn his back to the defense. Granted, he was not actually very accurate in those instances, but NFL teams will appreciate that he played over 20% of his snaps under center considering some college QBs never take an under-center snap in a live game. That doesn’t move the needle for me at all, but I’m not the one with draft picks. 

 

PASS RUSH

Avg. Number of Pass Rushers: 4.42

Three or Fewer Pass Rushers Frequency: 8.99%

Four Pass Rushers Frequency: 53.37%

Five Pass Rushers Frequency: 27.53%

Six or More Pass Rushers Frequency: 10.67%

Stanley saw a fairly high number of average pass-rushers, as well as a very high rate of six-or-more pass rushers. Rather than teams just wanting to be aggressive with Stanley, my suspicion is that Iowa’s frequency of seven- and eight-man protections lent itself to defenses sending late blitzers once running backs and/or tight ends declared themselves as blockers. In some cases, defenders will just peel off of their target and roam around in a zone, but it seems defenses were comfortable sending those players at Stanley instead. 


SITUATIONAL

3rd/4th Down Adjusted Accuracy: 62.39%

3rd/4th Down Conversion Rate: 45.87%

4th Quarter/Overtime Adjusted Accuracy: 50.43%

Red Zone Adjusted Accuracy: 59.80%

Stanley’s one area of relative strength is how he managed third and fourth downs. Though his accuracy percentage is not the best, Stanley did prove himself to have the veteran poise and instant trigger necessary to keep the chains moving. Too many young quarterbacks are not willing to rifle in the tough throws to attack the sticks, but Stanley is both willing and plenty talented as far as arm strength goes. Those windows that may close on other quarterbacks, especially in 3rd-and-7+ scenarios, are not necessarily closed for Stanley. Stanley could be really good at converting third and fourth downs if his accuracy was decent, but alas. 


On the flip side, Stanley’s fourth quarter accuracy is interesting. Generally speaking, unless a QB is at a powerhouse program that is always winning late, fourth quarter stats are accumulated in must-pass situations. Either a team is trying to tack onto a small lead or mount a comeback, both of which can force an offense to be aggressive. Stanley was awful in those spots. At just over 50% adjusted accuracy, Stanley was nowhere close to his already-bad total adjusted accuracy score and put up one of the worst marks in that area that I can remember. In addition to the heightened pressure, it is likely that the nature of needing to throw further down the field in those situations hurt Stanley because his accuracy beyond five yards is a crapshoot.