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The strongest arm in the 2023 NFL Draft Quarterback class - Dorian Thompson-Robinson?
Photo: UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson Robinson (QB13) throws the ball during the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The strongest arm in the 2023 NFL Draft Quarterback class - Dorian Thompson-Robinson?

At the combine, the forty-yard dash times typically make all the headlines. However, for quarterbacks, there is a lesser-known measurement that often goes unnoticed by NFL fans: ball velocity. This metric is potentially more important for success at the pro level, but the measurements seem to be mostly hidden from public view.

Ball velocity is taken by a radar gun, measuring the speed of a low-line drive pass thrown into a padded wall. This doesn’t account for deep passing velocity and in so overall distance - which requires a slightly different throwing motion and so the results while helpful may only paint half the picture. Despite this, the results both historically and at this year’s combine are still eye-opening.

Most notably, UCLA's Dorian Thompson-Robinson recorded an incredible 62 mph throw, tying the previous record set in 2018 by the Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen, who is known for having one of the NFL's strongest arms, if not the strongest. DTR's performance wasn't unexpected, as he also achieved the highest average initial airspeed for any player at this year's Shrine Bowl.

Interestingly, the standout star of the combine, Anthony Richardson, came in second this year with a 60 mph fastball, which matched Patrick Mahomes' performance from 2017.

As expected, Will Levis (59 mph) and CJ Stroud (59 mph) performed well. Surprisingly, Georgia's Stetson Bennett not known for having a canon also delivered a 59 mph fastball.

We've found it difficult to obtain results, and only a few have been posted recently. To provide context for this year's findings, here are the quarterback ball velocity speeds from previous combines:

2023 Draft Quarterback Ball velocity

Dorian Thompson-Robinson UCLA 62 MPH
Anthony Richardson Florida 60 MPH
Will Levis Kentucky 59 MPH
Stetson Bennett Georgia 59 MPH

2022 Draft Quarterback Ball velocity

Sam Howell North Carolina 59 MPH
Dustin Crum Kent State 53 MPH
Jack Coan Notre Dame 55 MPH

2020 Draft Quarterback Ball velocity

Jacob Eason Washington 59 MPH
Jake Luton Oregon State 59 MPH
Steven Montez Colorado 59 MPH
Kevin Davidson Princeton 57 MPH
Justin Herbert Oregon 55 MPH
James Morgan Florida International 54 MPH
Jordan Love Utah State 54 MPH
Jalen Hurts Oklahoma 54 MPH
Jake Fromm Georgia 53 MPH
Nate Stanley Iowa 54 MPH
Anthony Gordon Washington State 52 MPH
Brian Lewerke Michigan State 51 MPH
Cole McDonald Hawaii 51 MPH
Shea Patterson Michigan 51 MPH
Kelly Bryant Missouri 47 MPH

2019 Draft Quarterback Ball velocity

Will Grier West Virginia 59 MPH
Brett Rypien Boise State 59 MPH
Clayton Thorson Northwestern 58 MPH
Nick Fitzgerald Mississippi State 57 MPH
Jordan Ta'amu Mississippi 56 MPH
Gardner Minshew Washington State 55 MPH
Ryan Finley North Carolina State 55 MPH
Tyree Jackson Buffalo 54 MPH
Daniel Jones Duke 54 MPH
Drew Lock Missouri 54 MPH
Easton Stick North Dakota State 54 MPH
Jake Browning Washington 54 MPH
Trace McSorley Penn State 53 MPH
Jarrett Stidham Auburn 53 MPH
Dwayne Haskins Ohio State 52 MPH
Kyle Shurmer Vanderbilt 52 MPH

2018 Draft Quarterback Ball velocity

Josh Allen Wyoming 62 MPH
Baker Mayfield Oklahoma 60 MPH
Josh Rosen UCLA 59 MPH
Tanner Lee Nebraska 57 MPH
Kurt Benkert Virginia 56 MPH
Danny Etling LSU 56 MPH
Nic Shimonek Texas Tech 55 MPH
Chase Litton Marshall 55 MPH
Mike White Western Kentucky 55 MPH
Austin Allen Arkansas 54 MPH
Riley Ferguson Memphis 54 MPH
JT Barrett Ohio State 52 MPH
Luke Falk Washington State 52 MPH
Kyle Lauletta Richmond 52 MPH
Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State 52 MPH
Logan Woodside Toledo 52 MPH
Quinton Flowers South Florida 49 MPH
Lamar Jackson Louisville 49 MPH

2017 Draft Quarterback Ball velocity

Patrick Mahomes Texas Tech 60 MPH (Also recorded a 62 mph throw at a private workout)
Davis Webb California 56 MPH 
Trevor Knight Texas A&M 55 MPH 
CJ Beathard Iowa 55 MPH 
Mitch Leidner Minnesota 53 MPH 
DeShone Kizer Notre Dame 52 MPH 
Seth Russell Baylor 52 MPH 
Joshua Dobbs Tennessee 51 MPH 
Jerod Evans Virginia Tech 51 MPH 
Mitch Trubisky North Carolina 51 MPH 
Nathan Peterman Pittsburgh 49 MPH 
Deshaun Watson Clemson 49 MPH
Brad Kaaya Miami 48 MPH 
Cooper Rush Central Michigan 46 MPH 
Sefo Liufau Colorado 46 MPH

2016  Draft Quarterback Ball velocity

Paxton Lynch, Memphis 59 MPH
Jared Goff, California 58 MPH
Carson Wentz, North Dakota State 57 MPH
Christian Hackenberg, Penn State 56 MPH
Joel Stave, Wisconsin 56 MPH
Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina State 56 MPH
Josh Woodrum, Liberty 56 MPH
Cody Kessler, Southern Cal 55 MPH
Brandon Allen, Arkansas 55 MPH
Trevone Boykin, TCU 55 MPH
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State 54 MPH
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana 54 MPH
Kevin Hogan, Stanford 53 MPH
Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky 53 MPH
Vernon Adams, Oregon 53 MPH
Jeff Driskel, Louisana Tech 52 MPH
Connor Cook, Michigan State 50 MPH

2015  Draft Quarterback Ball velocity

Bryan Bennett, SE Louisiana 60 MPH
Sean Mannion, Oregon State 57 MPH
Brandon Bridge, South Alabama 57 MPH
Marcus Mariota, Oregon 56 MPH
Anthony Boone, Duke 56 MPH
Jameis Winston, Florida State 55 MPH
Cody Fajardo, Nevada 55 MPH
Bryce Petty, Baylor 53 MPH
Brett Hundley, UCLA 53 MPH
Shane Carden, East Carolina 52 MPH
Jerry Lovelocke, Prairie View A&M 51 MPH
Nick Marshall, Auburn 50 MPH
Blake Sims, Alabama 42 MPH

2014   Draft Quarterback Ball velocity

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech 60 MPH
Stephen Morris, Miami 59 MPH
Tom Savage, Pittsburgh 57 MPH
Blake Bortles, Central Florida 56 MPH
Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois 56 MPH
Jeff Mathews, Cornell 56 MPH
Keith Wenning, Ball State 56 MPH
Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois 55 MPH
Tajh Boyd, Clemson 54 MPH
Bryn Renner, North Carolina 54 MPH
David Fales, San Jose State 53 MPH
AJ McCarron, Alabama 53 MPH
Dustin Vaughan, West Texas A& 53 MPH