NFL Draft

Quarterback Arm Strength Rankings for 2023 NFL Draft Class

The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles put on a show in Super Bowl LVII, and we saw a little bit of everything that night from quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts.

We saw the throws, the runs, the leadership and the intelligence with how the position was played. We saw few errors, and just exceptional quarterbacking on the biggest stage possible. Now we’re getting ready for the next wave of guys to come in during the 2023 NFL Draft.

>> The 33rd Team’s 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

What we’re going to talk about today is arm strength more than anything, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to playing quarterback, and we’ll dive into that more as we get closer to the draft. So for now, I’m going to rank the draft’s top quarterbacks in different tiers largely based on arm strength.


Bryce Young, Alabama

He’s a little outside the top gun, howitzer arms, but I believe Bryce Young (scouting report) is the best quarterback in this draft. “Bryce Cube” is the man, and what I mean is you name all the attributes you’re looking for in an NFL quarterback, and he has them. It starts with football intelligence, character, that moxy, leadership skills, toughness and footwork.

He also has the ability to move in and out of the pocket to keep plays alive and make the throws down the field. In fact, the one thing I’m looking for more on video is seeing him throw on schedule, and on time, which I know he can do. He has this ability to make those moves behind the line of scrimmage, challenge the line of scrimmage and then challenge the secondary downfield.

How much arm does he have? He has enough to make every throw out there, don’t worry about that part. If he needs to throw it deep or out to the sideline or the inside dig, he can. You name it, he can do it. He can feather it, drive it, loft it. He’s got it all. I think he’s the best quarterback in the class, but if we’re talking about the strongest arms in the draft, that wouldn’t be him. But as we all know, that’s not all that goes into playing quarterback.

Max Duggan, TCU

Duggan has a starter’s arm strength. When I was watching him on tape, I had a couple of questions about just how much he could actually fling it, and just what kind of strength he had to throw the deep outs and comebacks. Then, I had a chance to watch him at the Senior Bowl and was really impressed by his daily improvement daily. He got more comfortable all week long.

During his time at TCU, due to his running ability, defenses would crowd the line of scrimmage to take that away along with (the Horned Frogs’) run game. He had a chance to go off of play action and loft a number of passes over the top or find guys in the seam, and he didn’t have to drive the ball a lot. But you can find the throws where he’s driving it with deep in cuts, and at the Senior Bowl, he did a lot more of that.

This kid is a flat-out winner who took his team on a National Championship bid against Georgia. You name it, he did it. He wasn’t a starter at first, but became the starter his last year, and went on to an exceptional season. As far as arm strength itself, I think it’s starter level, but more than good enough.

All-Pro Level

Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

Hooker didn’t get a chance to finish the season because of a knee injury, but he was at the Senior Bowl all week meeting with scouts and coaches and sitting in on meetings. This kid doesn’t just play quarterback on the field, he plays quarterback off the field, finding a way to get better, learn more ball, and his football IQ is already really high.

When you watch him make his throws, and a lot of people want to question certain things because of Tennessee’s offense and how wide open receivers are — yeah, they’re wide open — but Hooker doesn’t miss. He makes great decisions about where the open receivers are and who’s going to come open at the proper times.

He’s got more than enough arm to throw the deep ball, and he lofts it in there well. He has great touch on seam passes down the middle, and when it’s time to drive it on the outs and deep digs, he can do that as well. He’s listed at about 218 pounds, but I think he’s going to get bigger and stronger as he gets to the NFL, which is only going to help him get bigger and stronger throwing the football.

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

Many people are split about C.J. Stroud (scouting report) in terms of arm strength. I think he’s got more arm than some of the people I’ve talked to give him credit for. I’ve watched him make every kind of throw. There are times his legs don’t get as involved because the pass rush is there, but the ball still gets there.

That tells me he’s got plenty of arm strength to make the throws you want. He’s played a bunch of big games at Ohio State, settles into the pocket well and reminds me of the dearly departed Dwayne Haskins in terms of playing the game from the pocket, with the ability to break out and make some runs when necessary.

I think that this kid is something else, and that last game against Georgia in the playoffs, where he showed some more off-schedule things, didn’t hurt his stock one bit.


Will Levis, Kentucky

Will Levis (scouting report) is 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, and not afraid of the weight room. He’s a big, strong and physical guy who has the arm to match. When you watch him throw the deep ball downfield, his throws match the rest of the class.

Then you come back and watch him on deep slants, posts, digs, comebacks, outs to the opposite side, that ball comes off of his hand, and it gets there in no time. As a coach of mine used to say all the time, “I want it there with dispatch,” and that’s what he’s able to do.

He’s not a frequent runner but can be a powerful type of runner, but Levis from the pocket can stand in there, and shrug off some of those tacklers. He’s kind of a mini Ben Roethlisberger when it comes to that, but he’s still able to make the throws. I saw more than one throw where his legs were tied up by a pass rusher, and he still got the ball downfield accurately. He has an elite arm.

Anthony Richardson, Florida

Anthony Richardson (scouting report) is listed as 6-foot-4, 232, but I suspect he’s bigger. He’s gifted, gifted, gifted. When he walks into the room your eyes go right to him. Then when you turn on the video and watch him play, you see all the throws I talked about with Levis — the big strong throws downfield, and the accuracy throwing when he’s able to set his feet and do it. There were times when his feet are tied up, and he still got it downfield.

He has the ability to get out of trouble when the pocket collapses, shrug some people off, have some vision and get upfield. He can step up into the pocket and oftentimes he can take off and go, and he hurts defenses because he has sub-4.5 speed as well.

The big thing with him is that he hasn’t played a ton of college football games. This was his one year as a starter, so he doesn’t have that full volume of work. We’re going to have to take a look at some of his mechanics.

I think he’s a great project, and one any team and coach is going to want to work with. Arm strength: Absolutely elite. It doesn’t matter what type of throw you want. He’s going to make it, and make it with ease.

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Charles Davis is an NFL analyst for CBS and NFL Network. He joined the sports media world after playing safety at the University of Tennessee.

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