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Published: June 1, 2016 at 02:51 p.m.
Updated: June 1, 2016 at 04:14 p.m.

16 for '16: College football QBs with the strongest arms

» Complete 16 for '16 series

College Football 24/7's "16 for '16" series continues with a look at 16 quarterbacks with the strongest arms. We kick off the list with a QB who's just beginning his college career, and top it with a senior signal-caller with NFL bloodlines.

16 Photos Total

  • 16. Feleipe Franks, Florida 16


    16. Feleipe Franks, Florida

    Based on early looks, Franks could be skyrocketing up this list in years to come. We'll hold off on vaulting him until the true freshman shows his ability in a college game, but there’s some highly intriguing potential here. Franks uncorked a 78-yard throw last weekend at The Quarterback Retreat to win the long-toss challenge. And there's video proof.

  • 15.  Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati 15

    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    15. Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati

    Personal issues kept Kiel out of Cincinnati's bowl game last season and he didn't play in the team's spring game because of a pulled muscle. He has shown he has the big arm NFL teams look for, but he has to get back on the field and stay healthy in 2016, which will be his final season of eligibility.

  • 14. Brad Kaaya, Miami 14

    Garry Jones/Associated Press

    14. Brad Kaaya, Miami

    Kaaya is on the lean side at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds (similar measurements to 2016 No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff), but he still generates plenty of zip on his throws, as you can see here, and here.

  • 13. Maty Mauk, Eastern Kentucky 13

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    13. Maty Mauk, Eastern Kentucky

    Mauk transferred to Eastern Kentucky earlier this month hoping to salvage his once-promising career. He has his doubters after being dismissed from Missouri in January, but there’s no question about his arm strength. Some considered his arm the SEC’s best heading into last season.

  • 12. Davis Webb, Cal 12

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    12. Davis Webb, Cal

    Webb is the heir apparent to Jared Goff at Cal after transferring from Texas Tech earlier this month. His former coach, Kliff Kingsbury, had this to say about Webb in 2014: "I think he's one of those top-five-pick talents with his arm strength and his mind and his size, and how athletic he is for being 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds." Kingsbury also said Webb has "one of the quickest releases and strongest arms I've been around."

  • 11. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee 11

    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    11. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee

    A dual threat, Dobbs might receive more acclaim for what he can do with his feet, but don’t sleep on his arm. Check out this throw against Kentucky from last season.

  • 10. Seth Russell, Baylor 10

    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    10. Seth Russell, Baylor

    Russell is returning from a season-ending injury (broken bone in neck), but his teammates were raving about his arm strength in April as he made his way back. He led the nation in yards per pass (10.5) before sustaining the injury last October.

  • 9. C.J. Beathard, Iowa 9

    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    9. C.J. Beathard, Iowa

    Kirk Ferentz turned to Beathard as his starter before last season in part because of his arm strength. The QB responded by leading Iowa to the Rose Bowl. His powerful arm was fully on display with this 85-yard touchdown pass in the Big Ten title game vs. Michigan State.

  • 8. Patrick Towles, Boston College 8

    Garry Jones/Associated Press

    8. Patrick Towles, Boston College

    Towles, a graduate transfer from Kentucky, has strong-armed genes. He’s the grandson of Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, and people have been enamored with his arm strength since high school. He has plenty of size (6-5, 240), and has one of the biggest arms in the 2017 draft class.

  • 7. Wes Lunt, Illinois 7

    Bradley Leeb/Associated Press

    7. Wes Lunt, Illinois

    Lunt has prototypical NFL size (6-5, 225) for a quarterback, and he has the arm to get the attention of clubs at the next level. His former head coach and offensive coordinator, Bill Cubit, once said Lunt is the "best I've had as far as throwing the ball in the hole and taking shots downfield. Wes can make every throw in the book."

  • 6. Deshaun Watson, Clemson 6

    Ric Tapia/Associated Press

    6. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

    Watson’s all-around game is what makes him such a special talent. His arm is an impressive piece of the overall package of tools. After watching Watson in the national championship game last season, NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks, a former scout, heaped praise on the Clemson QB. "As a deep-ball thrower, Watson shows outstanding arm strength and range on vertical routes. He easily drops the ball 'down the chute' on throws down the boundary, but also displays the zip and velocity to fire the ball between defenders on seam routes along the hashes." Watson led all Power Five QBs last season with 18 touchdowns on throws of 20 or more yards.

  • 5. Josh Rosen, UCLA 5

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    5. Josh Rosen, UCLA

    You might hear Rosen get more kudos for his touch than his arm strength, but don't confuse that for a lack of the latter. He showed as a freshman last season -- from the get-go -- that he can sling it from anywhere on the field, and he should be able to put even more mustard on his throws as he develops.

  • 4. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State 4

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    4. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

    The junior has prototypical size (6-5, 235) for a pro QB, and he has plenty of arm. He tied 2016 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff for the lead among Power Five QBs with 40 completions on passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield. He takes no breaks from firing passes, even when he’s on vacation.

  • 3. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame 3

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    3. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

    The 6-4, 230-pounder wasted no time showing off his arm, dropping this 39-yard dime to Will Fuller for a game-winning score in his first time seeing significant playing time for the Fighting Irish. See more of the same in this video here. He’ll be battling Malik Zaire, whom Kizer replaced after Zaire went down with an injury last season, for the starting job in camp.

  • 2. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech 2

    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

    Mahomes can beat you with his arm or his legs, but, as you can see in this video, his arm is special. He gave up baseball this year to focus on football in the spring, and reportedly had a fastball clocked at 93-plus miles per hour.

  • 1. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss 1

    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    1. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss

    There’s recent video proof of Kelly's arm strength, not that we needed more convincing about his ability in that area. The Rebels quarterback last week posted a clip to Instagram of him chucking a ball 76 yards down the field after a 5-yard running start. The nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly made a lot of challenging throws outside the numbers in his first season as Ole Miss' starter. He had a completion percentage of 64.9 on such throws and had 35 20-yard completions outside the numbers in 2015, leading all Power Five QBs in both categories.

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