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Ball Velocity: Does It Matter?


Jetdog16
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Over the past 2-3 seasons I've been hearing more and more analysis over QB prospect's ball velocity. Some of these measurements really intrigue me, such as Deshaun Watson's pathetic 49 MPH velocity. That was the sixth lowest mark in combine history according to the following:

 

http://www.pass2win.com/ball-velocity-exposing-the-power-qb.html

 

Going into the 2017 draft I was concerned about it. Those concerns ended up being unfounded as he led the NFL in Average Intended Air Yards in his rookie season. According the above link it's still rare for a low velocity QB to be successful. Most of the guys hovering around 50MPH have never started more than 1-2 games in the NFL. Only two of these guys have had any success in the NFL.

 

 

Shane Carden, Eastern Carolina, free agent, 52
Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech, Bengals - 52
Seth Russell, Baylor, TBD - 52
Graham Harrell, Texas Tech, free agent - 52
Pat White, West Virginia, free agent - 52
Kellen Moore, Boise State, Cowboys - 52
TJ Yates, North Carolina, free agent - 52
Michael Kafka, Northwestern, free agent - 52
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma St., free agent - 52
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State, free agent - 52

Josh Dobbs, Tennessee, TBD -51
Jerry Lovelocke, Praire View A&M, free agent - 51
Christian Ponder, Florida St, free agent - 51
Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech, free agent - 51

Matt Flynn, LSU, free agent -- 50
John Skelton, Fordham, free agent - 50
Ricky Stanzi, Iowa, free agent - 50
Tyrod Taylor, Va Tech, Bills- 50
Connor Cook, Michigan, Raiders - 50
Connor Shaw, South Carolina, Bears - 50
Nick Marshall, Auburn, Bengals - 50

Deshaun Watson, Clemson, TBD - 49
Michael Glennon, North Carolina State, Bears - 49
Josh Johnson, San Diego, Giants - 49
Sefo Liufau, Colorado, TBD - 46
Cooper Rush, Central Michigan, TBD - 46
Blake Sims, Alabama, free agent - 42 

 

 

So, does ball velocity matter? We may not have enough data yet. But the small sample size over the past 10 or so seasons would seem to point to Velocity being fairly important.

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Interesting article, thanks for posting. 

 

This years QBs:

 

Austin Allen - Arkansas - 53 (left), 54 (right)

Josh Allen - Wyoming - 62 (left), 62 (right)

JT Barrett - Ohio State - 52 (left), 52 (right)

Kurt Benkert - Virginia - 55 (left), 56 (right)

Sam Darnold - Southern Cal - did not throw

Danny Etling - LSU - 54 (left), 56 (right)

Luke Falk - Washington State - 52 (left), 52 (right)

Riley Ferguson - Memphis - 52 (left), 54 (right)

Quinton Flowers - South Florida - 49 (left), 49 (right)

Lamar Jackson - Louisville - 49 (left), 49 (right)

Kyle Lauletta - Richmond - 52 (left), 52 (right)

Tanner Lee - Nebraska - 56 (left), 57 (right)

Chase Litton - Marshall - 53 (left), 55 (right)

Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma - 59 (left), 60 (right)

Josh Rosen - UCLA - 57 (left), 59 (right)

Mason Rudolph - Oklahoma State - 52 (left), 52 (right)

Nic Shimonek - Texas Tech - 55 (left), 55 (right)

Mike White - Western Kentucky - 53 (left), 55 (right)

Logan Woodside - Toledo - 52 (left), 52 (right)

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It’s never bad to have a strong arm...but it can be a crutch for young qbs.   Not a substitute for learning progressions and making good decisions.   Some of the greatest qbs don’t have cannon arms.    Brady, Brees, Manning come to mind.  

 

Just one piece of the puzzle- nothing more 

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18 minutes ago, CyberneticGhostOfXMasPast said:

I don’t think it’s even debatable 

 

Velocity is often the difference between a TD or INT - especially in the redzone 

 

No...anticipation is what matters. Ball velocity is and always has been overrated. Montana never had problems throwing for TDs in the RZ. 

 

Rotoviz made itself look like morons for its March-September bashing of Watson as an NFL backup ceiling because of the combine ball velocity numbers. 

 

This stat is truly fake news, as Watson proved beyond a shadow of a doubt last season.

 

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22 minutes ago, Iron-cock said:

62 by Josh Allen appears to be the highest recorded in the data that is posted. 

Yep. Backs up the scouting reports of him having a transcendent arm. It starts to make sense why he's being viewed as a top prospect. 

14 minutes ago, joshua18 said:

 

No...anticipation is what matters. Ball velocity is and always has been overrated. Montana never had problems throwing for TDs in the RZ. 

 

Rotoviz made itself look like morons for its March-September bashing of Watson as an NFL backup ceiling because of the combine ball velocity numbers. 

 

This stat is truly fake news, as Watson proved beyond a shadow of a doubt last season.

 

Out of the 27 lowest velocity's on record, only 3 of those prospects have ever been considered starters. It seems to be as good of a scouting indicator as any. There will always be outliers like Watson and Tyrod, but for the most part it's clear that low velocity QB's do not succeed in the NFL.

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38 minutes ago, CyberneticGhostOfXMasPast said:

I don’t think it’s even debatable 

 

Velocity is often the difference between a TD or INT - especially in the redzone 

 

16 minutes ago, joshua18 said:

 

No...anticipation is what matters. Ball velocity is and always has been overrated. Montana never had problems throwing for TDs in the RZ. 

 

Rotoviz made itself look like morons for its March-September bashing of Watson as an NFL backup ceiling because of the combine ball velocity numbers. 

 

This stat is truly fake news, as Watson proved beyond a shadow of a doubt last season.

 

 

Hmmm...

the truth is somewhere in the middle

Some great qbs with rocket arms, and some with noodle arms.   

 

Stafford, Favre, Elway, Rodgers, Luck, Big Ben- rocket 

brees, Brady, Manning, Watson- noodle 

 

ALL are students of the game- which is what really matters.    

 

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Just now, Impreza178 said:

 

 

Hmmm...

the truth is somewhere in the middle

Some great qbs with rocket arms, and some with noodle arms.   

 

Stafford, Favre, Elway, Rodgers, Luck, Big Ben- rocket 

brees, Brady, Manning, Watson- noodle 

 

ALL are students of the game- which is what really matters.    

 

Almost none of those guys have their throw velocity on record. For all we know, Brees could clock in at 56 MPH. That lack of large sample data is my biggest concern at the moment.

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There’s a lot more to being a great QB than arm strength ... but there is no question the quicker you can the ball from point A (QB) to point B (receiver), the more likely you are to succeed

 

Go look at pretty much any TD pass from inside the 10 yard line and tell me velocity isn’t that important 

 

 

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I think it’s similar to 40 time for RBs. The stat provides an easy number for comparison, but it tells us little about a prospect’s NFL success because there are so many more important and less quantifiable skills.  To the extent that most QBs with low velocity don’t succeed in the NFL, I think that’s just because the vast majority of QBs wash out of the league in a few years, which is why half of the teams are looking to upgrade their QB every year.  Logan Thomas had the fastest velocity (60 mph) in the last decade and he had to switch positions after bouncing around the league.  Meanwhile Russell Wilson threw at 55mph.

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Just now, Jetdog16 said:

Almost none of those guys have their throw velocity on record. For all we know, Brees could clock in at 56 MPH. That lack of large sample data is my biggest concern at the moment.

 

Im not concerned with what’s  “on record” -  i know for a fact how all of those qbs throw.  

 

Jet, don’t you think if this was a crucial stat- pros could predict successful qbs more accurately?    Allen would be a no brainer success and #1 pick.  

 

That’s why I maintain that a qbs mind is what makes him great.    Much harder to nail down.  Lots of intangibles and growth.    

 

Great topic, thanks for posting 

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Just now, Impreza178 said:

 

Im not concerned with what’s  “on record” -  i know for a fact how all of those qbs throw.  

No you don't. Just the same way you wouldn't know how fast a player was without their 40.

 

Just like you would be cautious in positively evaluating a RB with a 4.7 forty, you should also be cautious with a QB who throws 49 MPH. 

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Just now, Jetdog16 said:

No you don't. Just the same way you wouldn't know how fast a player was without their 40.

 

Just like you would be cautious in positively evaluating a RB with a 4.7 forty, you should also be cautious with a QB who throws 49 MPH. 

 

So you’re saying we don’t know that Peyton Manning had a weaker arm?   

Or that you can’t tell the difference between Barkley and Blount without a 40 time? 

:lol:

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Impreza178 said:

 

 

So you’re saying we don’t know that Peyton Manning had a weaker arm?   

Or that you can’t tell the difference between Barkley and Blount without a 40 time? 

:lol:

 

 

 

The eye test will obviously give you a good idea of things. I don't trust anyone to judge a velocity difference of 4-5 MPH on a regular basis unaided by technology. 

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It’s just another stat among many.

 

I favor accuracy and the ability to get the ball out quickly (partly reading the D), others favor height and a strong arm.

 

But stats involve thresholds.  For example, I don’t want a QB with a below average intelligence score...

 

With regards to “ball velocity” I don’t think there is enough data yet to set that bottom threshold.

 

When setting these thresholds, they are often arbitrary.  And, whatever ideal QB mold you’ll find an elite QB outside of it.

 

What you’re hoping for is increasing the odds of success in the NFL, but busts can come from anywhere and with any stats.

 

Conclusion: stats are intriguing but they shouldn’t outweigh the game tape.

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3 hours ago, joshua18 said:

 

No...anticipation is what matters. Ball velocity is and always has been overrated. Montana never had problems throwing for TDs in the RZ. 

 

Rotoviz made itself look like morons for its March-September bashing of Watson as an NFL backup ceiling because of the combine ball velocity numbers. 

 

This stat is truly fake news, as Watson proved beyond a shadow of a doubt last season.

 

What's funny is that you named 2 QBs over nearly a 40 yr period in an attempt to prove your opinion.

 

"2" - lol

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16 hours ago, Jetdog16 said:

"No you don't. Just the same way you wouldn't know how fast a player was without their 40. Just like you would be cautious in positively evaluating a RB with a 4.7 forty, you should also be cautious with a QB who throws 49 MPH." 

 

Both sides are valid, they measure all these variables for any number of reasons. But to Impreza's point, that 49 mph is to take a stat w/o even watching Deshaun Watson or denying what's plain to see. I'm no physics major but velocity is more than speed, the trajectory of an object is part of it. Some of Watson's deep throws were like a frozen rope. A lot of those were as flat as it gets, comparatively I mean. He launched those and they were at the other end in no time! That's a QB with a strong arm. Coming out, the material I have (plus his profile at nfl.com) rated his arm strength anywhere from adequate to strong. His draft tracker profile breaks it down further (I've forgotten the specifics), but when he'd go to drive the ball his plant foot was too long, perhaps. Whatever the case, his mechanics affected his otherwise favorable, over-the-top release. He was releasing those past the high point causing some push & air. It also stated that the problem was correctable.    

 

Perhaps that's what we saw, his coaches helped clean some of that up. To deny or undermine the results, I don't know what that is. Will Fuller is a vertical threat, but was just some guy on their roster... until Watson took the field. It's just me, but it appeared the shell was getting cracked again & again. What happens now? Somehow suck him into believing those time intensive plays are there when they're not. From a historical standpoint, he's destined for epic fail, likely I think. A great QB or player is someone who elevates the play of those around him. When that guy is out, but the team still scores and manages to go 3-1 with the backup, I don't know. The other factor is what that guy can do when the scripted play breaks down.      

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17 hours ago, seanismorris said:

It’s just another stat among many.

 

I favor accuracy and the ability to get the ball out quickly (partly reading the D), others favor height and a strong arm.

 

But stats involve thresholds.  For example, I don’t want a QB with a below average intelligence score...

 

With regards to “ball velocity” I don’t think there is enough data yet to set that bottom threshold.

 

When setting these thresholds, they are often arbitrary.  And, whatever ideal QB mold you’ll find an elite QB outside of it.

 

What you’re hoping for is increasing the odds of success in the NFL, but busts can come from anywhere and with any stats.

 

Conclusion: stats are intriguing but they shouldn’t outweigh the game tape.

Would like this 100X if possible.  

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Iron-cock said:

 

Tell us more, guru. 

 

Sorry that’s all I got for ya IC

I can agree that you want to avoid players on the extreme low end of the spectrum- especially early.    That’s true with most measureables.   

 

But beyond that-  there are many more important characteristics than a difference in velocity only noticeable by radar gun.   Would be more useful to have a velocity number on say...an average of 5 passes of each type.   Like 10 yard outs for example. 

 

Respect your opinion as always.  

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