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2013 College Football QBs with Best Arm Strength

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2016

2013 College Football QBs with Best Arm Strength

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    Finally—a slideshow Johnny Manziel won't show up on.

    Arm strength was once the standard by which all quarterbacks were measured. But as the sport has changed, so too has the position. Today, a weak-armed quarterback with good accuracy and read-option skills can be just as successful.

    But it's still always nice to have a QB with an arm, a guy who can stretch the field and make teams pay for playing man coverage. Bubble screens might be the college pattern du jour, but the quickest way from point A to point B is still a straight line.

    Here are eight guys who always keep opposing defenses honest.

8. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

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    Teddy Bridgewater doesn't have the strongest vertical arm, but he gets extremely good velocity on intermediate passes. He zips the ball into tight spaces with an effortless motion, much like a younger Michael Vick.

    His ability to maintain that velocity on the run is a rare boost and a testament to how strong his arm truly is.

7. Jeff Driskel, Florida

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    Somewhat of a disappointment since taking the reins at Florida, Jeff Driskel still possesses the physical tools requisite for superstardom. There's a reason he was so highly touted coming out of high school, and a lot of that has to do with the incredible arm strength he possesses.

    Now entering his junior season, this is a "put up or shut up" year for the embattled quarterback. If Florida's defense plays as well as it did in 2012, there's no telling the heights Driskel could lead the team to.

6. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

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    Speaking of someone being somewhat disappointing since taking over a team, Logan Thomas was supposed to be Cam Newton 2.0 upon his arrival in Blacksburg. He's never been able to put all his tools together, though, and the Hokies offense has been inconsistent because of that.

    Still, Thomas can get the ball downfield with an effortless flick of his wrist. Even outside of the pocket, the enormity of his arm strength is hard to ignore.

    Hopefully he'll put those tools together in 2013.

5. Casey Pachall, TCU

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    Scouts like Casey Pachall for his gun-slinging attitude. He's reckless, but can get away with because his arm is so powerful.

    In his only full season as a starter, 2011, Pachall's adjusted passing yards per attempt was 9.1—10th in the country.

    Neither Andy Dalton before him nor Trevone Boykin after him even came close to that number. Pachall was able to get the ball downfield despite the fact that Gary Patterson's offensive system limits quarterbacks in that regard.

    That's how much Pachall likes (and succeeds at) throwing deep.

     

4. Blake Bell, Oklahoma

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    Blake Bell hasn't had much of a chance to show off his arm at Oklahoma. At least, not yet.

    Stuck behind Landry Jones the past two years, Bell has been relegated to the role of a glorified Tim Tebow. He's been extremely good in his goal-line "Belldozer" package, but he has more rushing touchdowns (24) than pass attempts (20) as a Sooner. 

    Bob Stoops will likely unleash him in 2013, though, and when he does, the world will see the might of Bell's arm. He stands 6'6'' and gets every bit of his frame into throws, especially outside of the pocket.

    Since he's thrown so few passes, there aren't any good numbers to back up his spot on this list. But that won't be the case much longer.

3. Zach Mettenberger, LSU

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    Zach Mettenberger is like a pitcher who throws 102 but can't keep the ball in the strike zone. He's young, though, so there's still time to work on him. And if he ever puts it together, watch out.

    His first season at LSU didn't go according to plan, but in terms of sheer arm strength, there are few in the country who can match Mettenberger. He showed flashes of that cannon at last summer's Peyton Manning Passing Academy, where NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah praised him for his "outstanding arm strength" and "beautiful deep ball."

    Ex-NFL head coach Cam Cameron is the Tigers' new offensive coordinator, and his vertical, pro-style system might be exactly what the doctor ordered for Mettenberger.

2. Tajh Boyd, Clemson

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    Tajh Boyd isn't the biggest guy on this list, and he doesn't flick the ball downfield effortlessly. He needs to put everything he has into his deep ball. His results on the field, though, prove that his physical stature isn't holding him back.

    Clemson's senior QB has thrown for 7,724 yards since taking over under center in 2011, the fourth-most in college football over that span and the most of any active FBS player. He's adept in the short and intermediate game, but the deep ball has always been his weapon of choice.

    Boyd finished fifth in the NCAA in adjusted passing yards per attempt last year and, even with the loss of DeAndre Hopkins, should still be able to repeat that success in 2013. All it means is more go routes for Sammy Watkins.

1. Aaron Murray, Georgia

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    Aaron Murray is a Heisman candidate, a former 5-star recruit and last year was almost a national champion. Yet, somehow, beyond comprehension, he still doesn't get the credit he deserves.

    His adjusted yards per pass attempt last year was 10.8, tied with AJ McCarron for first in the nation. He achieved that number, though, with far less after-the-catch support from his receivers than McCarron. He threw bombs for the Bulldogs in 2012—and accurate ones at that.

    For his career, Murray ranks fourth in SEC history for adjusted yards per pass attempt. He only trails Tim Tebow (whose stats were inflated with YAC), Ryan Mallett and Danny Wuerffel, edging out the likes of JaMarcus Russell and Peyton Manning.

    Those are some of the strongest arms in NCAA history, and there's a reason Murray finds himself on that list: because he owns one of them.

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