Let’s be honest about NFL Quarterbacks. Very few followers of the NFL are qualified to understand and grade talent like a pro scout.
That’s why easy-to-measure physical qualities like hand size are used to gauge future success among quarterbacks. It might be easier to understand Bret Favre’s success for his 10.38” hands rather than understand why his brain chooses to throw a pass across the body on third and long in the NFC Championship game. Quantifiable numbers might be easier to grasp for most people.
There’s something primally satisfying about knowing that your team’s quarterback has the right physical attributes, that he is tall enough to see over the marauding Aaron Donald or speedy enough to escape the clutches of a charging Khalil Mack.
These stats are even more powerful when the player in question is a rookie. Fans are known to fall in love with potential. And in many cases, the potential is a physical trait, as most fans have never seen the player’s college games.
NFL Quarterbacks by the Numbers
It’s been said that numbers tell the story. But, for every standard stat that seems to be important for quarterbacks, there are exceptions. Do you think it takes a QB to be tall? What about Russell Wilson, who stands only 5’11” tall?
Well, QBs must at least be pretty fast. Tell that to Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady who isn’t exactly a sprinter. For quarterbacks and other key positions in the NFL, it seems that certain shortcomings can be overcome when an individual is so talented in other aspects of the position.
So with that in mind, let’s look at some statistics that make evaluating the quarterback position an intriguing process. We call it “NFL Quarterbacks by the Numbers.”
Top Ten NFL Quarterbacks Jersey sales*
A good barometer of player popularity is to follow where fans spend their money. The NFL closely follows which players’ jerseys are currently trending with fans. The leading jersey sales are populated by the best quarterback names, as could be expected.
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1.) Patrick Mahomes
At the peak of the mountain that is the NFL stands Patrick Mahomes. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback just signed a 10-year deal with the Chiefs worth over $500 million. And he is only entering his third full year as a starting QB. The 24-year-old gunslinger has everything going his way, including the top spot for jersey sales.
2.) Tom Brady
After six Super Bowl rings in New England, Brady will be playing out his football golden years in Tampa Bay. Buccaneer fans are excited about the possibilities for their favorite team, led by their new veteran signal-caller.
Other NFL fans are glad to finally see the breakup of the Patriots’ soul-crushing dynasty of Brady and Belichick. So everyone is happy and buying the new-look Brady jersey (except for the sad faces in New England).
3.) Lamar Jackson
Rising fast in the ranks of top NFL quarterbacks and jersey sales is Lamar Jackson. 2019’s Most Valuable Player brings a new dimension to the position with his dual-threat abilities. Look for the purple #8 jersey to be a staple on this list for years to come.
4.) Baker Mayfield
Fan-favorite Baker Mayfield brings new energy to his leadership of the Cleveland Browns, and fans can feel it. The team consists of some of the top NFL talents at many of its skill positions. Expectations couldn’t be higher for Mayfield and the Browns. Cleveland fans are hoping new coach Kevin Stefanski is the missing piece to putting together a championship team.
5.) Aaron Rodgers
Is this Aaron Rodgers last season with the Packers? Is Jordan Love the next leader of the team? This season will determine a lot in terms of the future of the quarterback position in Green Bay. As long as Rodgers still holds the cards, don’t ever count him out.
6.) Jimmy Garoppolo
The 49ers proved they could get to the Super Bowl with a controlled offense under the leadership of Jimmy Garoppolo. Will he be able to take his game to the next level and grab the brass ring? Fans are snapping up his jersey in anticipation of the possibilities.
7.) Dak Prescott
To the chagrin of Dak Prescott fans, the Dallas Cowboys are gambling with the future of their quarterback position. Dak will play the 2020 season under the team’s franchise tag, paying him $33 million but leaving his future with the team unknown.
8.) Drew Brees
The New Orleans fan-favorite QB is nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career. Can he cap it off with another Super Bowl win? “Who Dat?”-nation says yes.
9.) Russell Wilson
Seahawks fans, known as the 12s (for the twelfth man), can’t get enough of Russell Wilson’s intensity and winning attitude.
10.) Carson Wentz
Philadelphia hopes Carson Wentz can put together a strong season, stay healthy, and lead the team to the playoffs and a Super Bowl.
Jersey sales of popular rookie QBs
The draft class of 2020 featured five quarterbacks taken in the first two rounds. The Cincinnati Bengals took LSU’s Joe Burrow with the number one overall pick. Then the Miami Dolphins selected the talented Tua Tagovailoa at the fifth spot. Sales of these future-star QB jerseys are currently among the hottest among all NFL players.
Rounding out the new crop of high-round quarterback draft picks are Justin Herbert (taken at number six by the Los Angeles Chargers), Jordan Love (#26 by the Green Bay Packers), and Jalen Hurts (#53 by the Philadelphia Eagles). If jersey sales are any indication, fans are anticipating big things from these high-profile rookie quarterbacks too.
*Stats from NFLPA as of 2/29/20
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NFL QB Physical Traits
The preference in NFL front offices has always been for bigger, stronger, and taller quarterbacks. And over the years, this trend has become more and more entrenched in personnel decision-making. Computer modeling spits out a template for the physical traits of the ideal quarterback before a player ever steps on the field.
Let’s look at some of the best QB talents in the NFL to see how they stack up with these physical traits.
Heaviest NFL Quarterbacks – Weight
Here are some of the league’s current heavyweights at the quarterback position:
How much does Cam Newton weigh?
Leading the league in weight at quarterback is Cam Newton of the New England Patriots. He tips the scales at an impressive 245 lbs.
How much does Ben Roethlisberger weigh?
For years Big Ben held the crown for the biggest signal-caller in the league at 240 lbs.
How much does Dak Prescott weigh?
Some fans will be surprised that the Cowboys’ athletic and agile quarterback Dak Prescott is actually a large human at 238 lbs.
How much does Carson Wentz weigh?
Many defenses know how difficult it is to bring down the physically large QB from North Dakota State. Wentz weighs in at 237 lbs.
How much does Patrick Mahomes weigh?
Mahomes is deceptively light on his feet for carrying his 230 lbs of weight.
How much does Tom Brady weigh?
The ex-Patriot checks in at an average-sounding weight for his height at 225 lbs.
How much does Aaron Rodgers weigh?
Rodgers is very Brady-like in several ways, including his weight: 225 lbs.
How much does Jimmy Garoppolo weigh?
Jimmy Garoppolo fits the prototypical quarterback height and size at 225 lbs.
How much does Russell Wilson weigh?
For a relatively short NFL quarterback, Russell Wilson is built like a brick house at 215 lbs.
How much does Baker Mayfield weigh?
The Browns signal-caller weighs in at 215 lbs.
How much does Lamar Jackson weigh?
The quick and nimble Ravens QB weighs 212 lbs.
How much does Drew Brees weigh?
Brees relies on his quick decision-making behind center and throwing accuracy. For NFL quarterbacks, he is just under the average QB weight at 209 lbs.
Other All-Time Heaviest NFL Quarterbacks
- Duante Culpepper weighed 264 lbs
- Donovan McNabb weighed 240 lbs
Tallest NFL Quarterbacks – Height
It seems one of the universal criteria for selecting a pro quarterback is height. The reasoning goes, if a QB is tall enough to see over the hulking defensive line, he will have an advantage in seeing the field and completing passes to his receivers.
Let’s take a look at some of the taller QBs in the league.
How tall is Carson Wentz?
Carson Wentz is among the tallest starting NFL quarterbacks (Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Allen, Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, and Daniel Jones), standing 6’5” tall.
How tall is Tom Brady?
The new Buccaneers quarterback is 6’4” tall. He will be throwing to his 6’6” buddy, tight end Rob Gronkowski.
How tall is Patrick Mahomes?
Mahomes doesn’t look it, but he is among the taller QBs in the NFL at 6’3”.
How tall is Lamar Jackson?
The 2019 NFL MVP quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens stands 6’2” tall.
How tall is Aaron Rodgers?
Aaron Rodgers has no issues in seeing over the opposing defensive line with his 6’2” height.
How tall is Jimmy Garoppolo?
The 49ers’ main man stands 6’2” tall in the pocket.
How tall is Dak Prescott?
Dak Prescott is 6’2” tall on an athletically built frame.
How tall is Baker Mayfield?
Baker Mayfield’s height is just above the 6 feet low-end, ideal for quarterbacks at 6’1”.
How tall is Drew Brees?
Drew Brees got bumped around the NFL early in his career because of his 6’0” tall height. He has proven teams wrong.
How tall is Russell Wilson?
Russell Wilson has proven every year of his career that quarterback height is irrelevant. He stands 5’11” tall.
Other All-Time Tallest QBs
- Joe Flacco stands 6’6” tall
- Nick Foles is also 6’6” tall
NFL’s All-Time Shortest QBs
- Doug Flutie was only 5’10” tall
- Sonny Jurgensen stood 5’11” tall
- Fran Tarkenton was 6’0” tall
Biggest Hand Size of NFL Quarterbacks
A fan-favorite statistic for judging NFL quarterbacks is hand size. The logic is that the larger the hands, the better the grip on the football. With a better grip, fumbles and throwing miscues are less likely to occur.
While hand-size isn’t always a reliable predictor of future success, statistics like these are important in judging any quarterback’s overall physical attributes.
What is Dak Prescott’s hand size?
At 10.88,” Dak Prescott has the largest hands of the top quarterbacks in the league.
What is Drew Brees’ hand size?
At a modest six feet tall, Drew Brees has a surprising 10.25” hand size measurement.
What is Russell Wilson’s hand size?
Even more surprising is Russell Wilson’s hand measurement of 10.25”. He is one of the shorter QBs in the NFL at 5’11”.
What is Carson Wentz’s hand size?
The Eagles starting quarterback’s physical stature is nearly ideal at 6’5” and 237 pounds. His 10” hands are larger than most others.
What is Lamar Jackson’s hand size?
Jackson is perfectly average when it comes to QB hand size. His 9.5” hands are exactly in line with the NFL average hand size for quarterbacks.
What is Tom Brady’s hand size?
The future Hall of Famer’s hands is not too big and not too small. Folks in Tampa Bay would say they are just right at 9.38”.
What is Aaron Rodgers’ hand size?
Aaron Rodgers’ 9.38” hand size has never been a concern when he drops back to let rip on one of his patented hail mary’s into the end zone.
What is Patrick Mahomes’ hand size?
The passing wizardry of Patrick Mahomes is accomplished with his 9.25” hand-sized grip on the ball.
What is Baker Mayfield’s hand size?
The exciting young Cleveland Browns quarterback has a quite adequate hand size of 9.25”.
What is Jimmy Garoppolo’s hand size?
Jimmy G is, in many ways, a model physical specimen for quarterbacks in the league. Why would his 9.25” hands be any different?
Other All-Time Biggest Hand Size Quarterbacks
Here are some other notable quarterbacks from the past and their large (or small) hands:
- Steve McNair 10.5”
- Brett Favre 10.38”
- Peyton Manning 10.13”
- Michael Vick 8.5”
Fastest NFL Quarterbacks
For this “Quarterbacks by the Numbers” stat, we looked at two factors. For a current measure of athletic quickness, we used the Madden 21 speed ratings. To see how fast QBs were when they first entered the league, we took a look at their NFL combine 40-yard-dash score.
How fast is Lamar Jackson?
Jackson has the highest Madden 21 score for quarterback speed at 96. His NFL combines time for the 40 was 4.34 seconds. He’s fast!
How fast is Kyler Murray?
Up next is the speedy Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. He clocks in with a 91 Madden rating for speed and a 4.38-second 40-yard dash.
How fast is Russell Wilson?
Mr. Wilson set the quarterback standard for elusive running ability teamed with accurate passing. His Madden speed rating is 86, and his original 40 time was 4.55 seconds.
How fast is Josh Allen?
Josh Allen is becoming known for his strong arm (see Strong Arm ratings below), but one statistical category he excels at might surprise you: his foot speed. Madden gives him a score of 85, and his 40 times at the combine was 4.75 seconds.
How fast is Cam Newton?
At 245 pounds, Cam is an imposing figure behind the center. Logic would suggest his quickness might suffer for his size. Logic would be wrong. Madden 21 speed score: 84. 40-yard dash time: 4.56 seconds.
How fast is Daniel Jones?
The Giants’ young quarterback, Daniel Jones, is surprisingly quick. He ranked 84 on Madden 21 for speed and ran a 4.81 second 40 at the combine.
How fast is Deshaun Watson?
Deshaun Watson puts together a complete quarterback talent package with his fleet-of-foot 84-speed rating on Madden and 4.66-second 40 at the combine.
Other fast QBs in the NFL
- Dak Prescott – Madden 83 speed, 4.79-second 40 yard dash
- Baker Mayfield – Madden 82 speed, 4.84-second 40 yard dash
- Patrick Mahomes – Madden 81 speed, 4.8-second 40 yard dash
- Carson Wentz – Madden 81 speed, 4.77-second 40 yard dash
- Aaron Rodgers – Madden 77 speed, 4.71-second 40 yard dash
- Jimmy Garoppolo – Madden 73 speed, 4.97-second 40 yard dash
- Drew Brees – Madden 67 speed, 4.83-second 40 yard dash
- Tom Brady – Madden 60 speed, 5.28-second 40 yard dash
Notable Speedy Rookie QB
Jalen Hurts – Madden 86 speed, 4.54-second 40-yard dash.
All-Time Fast QB
Michael Vick holds the record for 40-time QBs at the combine at 4.25 seconds.
Strongest Arm Among NFL Quarterbacks
Ranking arm talent is, at best, a subjective endeavor. But experienced observers know a good arm when they see one.
While this assessment mainly rates overall strength, other factors like control, velocity, accuracy, and catchability can be important too.
We again look to the latest Madden NFL 2021 rankings and their “Throw Power Rating” for guidance in determining the strongest-armed QBs in the league.
How strong is Josh Allen’s arm?
To many fans’ surprise, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills holds Madden’s highest rating for arm strength at 99 — higher than Patrick Mahomes!
How strong is Patrick Mahomes’ arm?
The Super Bowl MVP is known for his mind-bending no-look passes and long-range accuracy. His Madden score is an impressive 97.
How strong is Aaron Rodgers’ arm?
Aaron Rodgers may be getting long in the tooth, but his arm strength is not suffering from age. His Madden throw power rating is 94.
How strong is Matthew Stafford’s arm?
Detroit’s Matthew Stafford has always been known for having a big arm. He earns a respectable 94 in Madden’s QB arm ranking.
How strong is Baker Mayfield’s arm?
Another young gun with a powerful arm is Brown’s, Baker Mayfield. He ranks 93 on Madden.
How strong is Joe Flacco’s arm?
Back in the day, Joe Flacco was held up as the example of a quarterback with a cannon for an arm. The 35-year-old Jet is given a still-impressive 92 score on Madden.
How strong is Lamar Jackson’s arm?
The Ravens superstar quarterback checks in with a respectable 92 arm strength score on Madden.
How strong is Cam Newton’s arm?
The Patriots should be very satisfied to get a quarterback as skilled and accomplished as Cam Newton and his 91-arm strength score on Madden.
How strong is Russell Wilson’s arm?
The Seahawks signal-caller throws an impressive deep ball. His Madden 21 arm score is 91.
How strong is Carson Wentz’s arm?
Carson Wentz is a big quarterback with all the physical skills necessary for the position. He has a 90-arm power rating on Madden.
Notable Rookie QB Arm Strength
Green Bay rookie quarterback Jordan Love has a Madden rating for throw power of 90.
All-Time NFL QB Arm Strength
Three of the most prominently-mentioned quarterbacks with the strongest arms in NFL history:
- Dan Marino
- Brett Favre
- John Elway
We hope you enjoyed this analytical look at NFL QBs’ metrics.
By Greg Johnson and Mike O’Halloran
Greg and Mike write about football and basketball. A lifetime Vikings fan, Greg works as a writer and art director. Mike is the founder and editor of Sports Feel Good Stories.
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