With the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine right around the corner, it's time to take a look at some intriguing prospects to keep an eye on in Indianapolis.
Today, we take a look at Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley.
Stanley was a three-year starter for head coach Kirk Ferentz during his time in Iowa City. Throughout his collegiate career, we watched him mature into one of the most dependable players at the position in the country. He went 27-12 as the starter, including a 3-0 record in bowl games. His underrated mobility allowed him to improvise at times and make plays with his big arm, while his size (6-4, 243) allowed him to stand in the pocket for that extra fraction of a second in order for his receivers to have more time to get open.
Five years ago, we may have been talking about Stanley as a potential first-round pick or at least someone who was a relatively safe bet to go in the early rounds. Now, with the NFL trending towards more mobile, dual-threat signal-callers, it's a little tougher to project when and where he'll be selected.
Once he gets to the Combine, look for Stanley to have one of the better outings of any quarterback when it comes to actually throwing the ball. He makes every throw with confidence and is mature enough to listen to others critique him without internalizing it as a negative.
Quite frankly, however, there won't be much to critique. His footwork in the pocket is as polished as you are going to find in this class. He will wow the NFL brass during the interviews, and I fully expect him to outperform expectations in any speed and agility drills he participates in.
As long as Stanley shows up prepared for the Combine, stays true to himself and his abilities, and avoids any major blunders, scouts and executives are going to come away with a warm, fuzzy feeling about him, knowing he's a safe pick who can immediately step into a backup role and potentially become a starter before the 2020 season is over.
If you are looking for a current NFL comparison, Stanley's size and skill set probably closest resembles that of a young Ben Roethlisberger (but not as much arm talent) or perhaps Dak Prescott (more in terms of size rather than athleticism).
Stanley is like many other quarterbacks this year — hard to get a handle on. But given the combination of physical traits and college track record, I wouldn't be surprised to see Stanley drafted as early as the second round. On the other side, I'd be stunned if he falls lower than the fourth round.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! SBNation and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.