New Miami Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace waxed poetic about Ryan Tannehill and his "cannon" arm during an interview with the Miami Herald earlier this week. But one comment raised some eyebrows: "Ryan may be able to throw the ball a little farther than Ben."
Yes, that's Ben, as in Ben Roethlisberger -- Wallace's old QB with the Pittsburgh Steelers and one of the best vertical passers in the game today. Strong words. But this is fitting, in a conversation about strong arms.
Let's broaden out the topic to the entire league: Who has the biggest arm in the NFL today?
Rodgers has owned NFL's best arm for a whileTo me, it's Aaron Rodgers. I think the Green Bay Packers quarterback has been the answer to this question the past few years. The ball jumps off his hands a little different than anyone else's. His velocity, and his ability to accurately command such velocity, put Rodgers at the very top of this list.
In terms of historical perspective, I have a hard time putting anyone in the class of Dan Marino. The best arm I ever scouted? JaMarcus Russell. He had a hose.
Players believe Freeman packs biggest cannonThere are plenty of big-armed guys out there: Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton. One guy who doesn't get talked about too much, though -- except when his fellow players are mentioning his name to me -- is Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman.
Freeman clearly can make all the throws when his mechanics are on point (which isn't always the case). Numerous guys have told me that when the ball leaves his hand, it's like a missile being blasted from a launcher. For Freeman, who is entering a contract year in 2013, he needs to make ideal use of his arm, improve on last season and lead the increasingly stacked Bucs to the playoffs.
Stafford has arm to make all the throwsMy vote goes to Matthew Stafford. I think the Detroit Lions quarterback has the strongest arm in the NFL. Stafford can make all the throws. He can hit the deep out, flat-footed, better than anybody in the game.
Ryan Tannehill has a good arm, but it's not as strong as Stafford's. Ben Roethlisberger is the best quarterback in the NFL at moving in the pocket and hitting the deep ball. But Stafford still has the stronger arm.
Cutler boasts the game's best fastballFor pure "I can throw the ball faster than you can," I'll roll with Jay Cutler. He gets extra points for throwing said fastball from strange positions, under pressure.
I thought about Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers. And Colin Kaepernick wins the award for most frighteningly fast pregame warm-up throws.
There's a reason Brees throws for 5,000 yards a yearDrew Brees' arm strength amazes me. To think his career was in question at one point because of a shoulder injury, and to see where he is now? It's incredibly impressive. Sure, Jay Cutler and Michael Vick are going to get their due for strong arms, but what sets Brees apart is how he throws his deep ball. There's no one, and I mean no one, who can throw the ball as deep, with these three huge qualities:
1) Velocity: It doesn't look like he throws it very hard with his easy motion, but it gets there just as fast as the other top guns.
2) Accuracy: There's plenty of guys who can chuck it long and make you say, "Wow, he threw that one 75 yards!" But more often than not, it's a jump ball or it's off target. Brees' ball always seems to arrive in his receiver's arms in the perfect spot.
3) Catchability: Sometimes it's hard to judge a deep ball because it's too high or it's whistling harder than you think it is. But Brees' passes seem to follow the same trajectory without any variables. His bombs never go off someone's fingertips or get misjudged.
He's not the classic choice, but there's a reason why he throws for 5,000 yards a year.
Known for his foot speed, Vick's arm strength also sets him apartMichael Vick has been viewed by some as the most gifted quarterback in the NFL. Most people focus on his running ability, but to me, he's got one of the biggest arms in the NFL, if not the biggest. (And no, I'm not talking about his fake commercial.)
People have questioned Vick before. Just ask the Washington Redskins, who called him out in 2010. Vick answered by uncorking a bomb on the first play of the game, an 88-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson. Yes, it was three seasons ago, but it spoke volumes about how talented Vick is on the football field.