While he is the reigning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Offensive Player of the Year and currently FAMU’s all-time passing leader in yards and touchdowns, Ryan Stanley will not be drafted to an NFL team. Here is why.
Since 2010 there has only been six quarterbacks to be drafted coming out of the FCS. Those quarterbacks being, Kyle Lauletta, Carson Wentz, Jimmy Garoppolo, Brad Sorensen, B.J. Coleman, and John Skelton. Only two of those players (Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garoppolo) are still in the NFL. So not only is it rare for FCS quarterbacks to get drafted but when they are they usually do not have too much success and don’t have long careers.
To even garner attention from the NFL while you are playing college football at the FCS level, you have to perform head and shoulders compared to your peers. Simply put, Stanley is just an average level quarterback when compared to the other quarterbacks drafted out of the FCS. Don’t let the records fool you, in his career at FAMU Stanley has never passed for 3,000 yards in a season. This a feat that all of the other FCS quarterbacks drafted since 2010 has achieved.
In addition to that, Stanley doesn’t have a strong enough arm to complete passes into short windows in the NFL. This was shown in games where he played against elevated competition. In this past season, the Rattlers faced off against the University of Central Florida (UCF), in which, Stanley wasn’t able to complete passes when his receivers didn’t create a lot of space. He was inaccurate the whole game and ended that game with just a 29% completion percentage, with his longest completion only being 15 yards. If Stanley cannot perform well against FBS competition how can we expect him to do so in the NFL? In the NFL he likely won’t have wide-open receivers and Stanley has not shown the ability to throw his receivers open.
Also, Stanley does not have enough arm strength to throw the ball deep down the field at the NFL level. In his career at FAMU, he’s only averaged 7.4 yards per attempt. In this past season in the NFL, the lowest yards per completion were 8.9 yards. Yards per attempt is how far a pass travels in the air, regardless of whether it’s completed or not. Yards per completion, on the other hand, is how far a pass travels, plus yards after the catch on a completion. This is a key stat because, in the NFL, it is difficult to sustain long drives without taking deep shots down the field. This is proven by eight out of the twelve playoff teams being in the top 15 in yards per attempt. The two teams playing in the Super Bowl were both in the top three.
I don’t think it is a secret that the MEAC does not have the same level of defensive play as the NFL or even FBS conferences such as the Southeastern Conference (SEC) or the BIG10. It is inevitable that Stanley’s yards per attempt will drop at the NFL level, just like most quarterbacks coming out of college. With his passing yards per attempt already being low, it is hard to say that it won’t drop drastically if he made it to the NFL. If Stanley wasn’t able to attempt to throw the ball deep in college, how could anyone expect him to accomplish this feat against the best football players in the world?
When NFL teams draft quarterbacks, they are usually drafting them with the hope that they could elevate the team’s success and that is something Stanley hasn’t shown the ability to do. In his four years as a starter, Stanley has only had two winning seasons during his tenure. What this tells me is that if Stanley isn’t put in a perfect situation, he won’t be able to turn around a team’s fortune, no matter where he is selected.
This was shown in the past two seasons in the Florida Classic against Bethune Cookman University where FAMU had chances to win. With FAMU’s offense on the field in the last two minutes of both games, Stanley had the chances to will his team to wins. He failed to do so by throwing interceptions in both games, sealing FAMU’s defeat.
Ryan Stanley has been great for FAMU football. His name has been put into the record books as one of the greatest quarterbacks in FAMU’s history, however, I think FAMU is where his football career will end.
Editor’s note: The headline on this story was changed on Thursday, Jan. 23, to better reflect the writer’s opinion. It was also updated on Friday, Jan. 24, to correct two inaccurate facts regarding Stanley’s career at FAMU. The story was again updated on Sunday, Jan.26, to add hyperlinks, as well as to add more information.