Maybe the only place Nate Stanley talks trash is in the QB room with a dry-erase marker in his hand and a whiteboard in front of him.
The Menomonie, Wis., native spent four years as Iowa’s quarterback and maybe his most famous pass is passing on enjoying the nightlife in downtown Iowa City. We do know he talked trash in practice.
During a camp practice in 2018, Stanley threw a TD pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson and then proceeded to get in safety Jake Gervase’s face and let him know. Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia, who was drafted in the third round Friday by the Denver Broncos, said Stanley and Gervase are good friends.
“So, Nate threw one to T.J. (Hockenson) in the end zone and he runs right up to Jake and is all in his face,” Ojemudia said. “You see it sometimes in games when he makes big throws. He’s a killer. We’re behind him and we trust him. We love seeing that killer instinct out of him. It gives us more energy.”
At the combine, Stanley slid this quip into a question about football IQ.
“I feel like I can explain everything in great detail, which helps me and shows the coaches, ‘Hey I know what I’m talking about. I know football,’” Stanley said. “More so than just, ‘Hey, you get field pressure, run away from it.’ I feel like I can explain things very well and that helps me a lot with these teams.”
That’s a football nerd beatdown right there. Stanley will have a chance to administer a few more of those.
With the 244th pick Saturday, Stanley went to the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round. In that slot, Stanley is looking at a $2.7 million, four-year deal with a $77,500 signing bonus.
Coincidentally, Stanley’s hometown is just an hour and nine minutes from Minneapolis.
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Iowa was 27-12 in Stanley’s three seasons as starting quarterback. The 6-4, 243-pounder passed for 2,951 yards with 16 touchdowns in 2019. He ranks second in career passing touchdowns (68), career passing yards (8,302), career completions (673) and career pass attempts (1,155), and third in career total offense (8,198).
Stanley also was a three-time team captain for the Hawkeyes.
“He can make every throw on the field,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said on the draft telecast. “He’s got a big, strong, powerful arm.”
Arm strength was never the argument with Stanley. Accuracy was another thing. Shortly after the season, Stanley hired a quarterbacks coach/mechanics guru to help him with his throwing motion, which Stanley described as more like “baseball” during his time at Iowa. He passed on the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine game to work on mechanics.
This doesn’t hold up for the entirety of Stanley’s time at Iowa, but in a few high-pressure games, Stanley’s mechanics unplugged under heavy pressure.
It does beg the question: Can Stanley make something out of nothing?
“He’s a pure pocket passer,” Jeremiah said. “He’s not going to create a lot of plays. He struggled when he gets pressured and sped up. When it’s on time and he can set his feet on the ground, you see some big-time throws, especially in the Holiday Bowl against USC. That was one of the best games I saw during his entire career. He’s got to get a little bit better playing off schedule, when everything isn’t as it’s supposed to go. That’s an area he needs to improve, but you talk about arm strength, he’s got it.”
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