Former University of Washington quarterback Jake Browning (3) throws during the Collegiate Bowl post-season all-star game on Jan. 19 in Pasadena, California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Former University of Washington quarterback Jake Browning (3) throws during the Collegiate Bowl post-season all-star game on Jan. 19 in Pasadena, California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Ex-UW quarterback anxious to disprove doubters at NFL combine

Jake Browning is eager to quiet those who say he doesn’t have enough arm strength for pro football.

  • By Bob Condotta The Seattle Times
  • Friday, March 1, 2019 6:17pm
  • Sports

By Bob Condotta

The Seattle Times

Jake Browning says he doesn’t want to be too hasty and assume that he knows exactly what it is NFL scouts are looking for from him at this week’s combine.

But arm strength, he says, “I would imagine is one of them.”

That’s probably an understatement.

Browning set just about every passing record there is during his four years at Washington, during which time he also helped lead the program back to prominence with berths in the Peach, Fiesta and Rose bowls the last three seasons.

He ended his career fourth in Pac-12 history in passing yards and sixth in touchdowns.

But those numbers came despite what have been persistent questions whether he has the requisite arm strength to make it in the NFL.

A recent scouting report from was particularly harsh: “Lacks any juice at all on this throws. The ball dies noticeably as it reaches its destination, typically forcing receivers to reach away from the frame to dig it out. Defenders will get a great jump on his throws when he’s trying to slot it into tight windows.”

Browning says he may try to avoid hearing what the critics say about him whenever he can, but questions about his arm strength he admits have some legitimacy.

Enough so that when he was asked Friday what he most wants to show NFL scouts when he takes part in on-field drills Saturday, his first two words were “arm strength” followed by “arm velocity.”

“Show them the ball can pop off my hand,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is doubting like my footwork or anything like that. I always had good feet. So definitely seeing if the ball can pop off my hand or not.”

It might be even more vital since Browning didn’t wow in the measurement category on Thursday, measuring 6-foot-17⁄8 inches tall and 211 pounds with nine-inch hands, the latter small by NFL QB standards (9.5 inches is considered ideal and Russell Wilson famously helped win over the Seahawks measuring 101⁄4 inches).

Browning, though, sounds confident he will open up some eyes.

Since UW’s season ended in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, Browning has been working out in southern California at 3DQB, working specifically with former QBs John Beck and Taylor Kelly and CEO Adam Dedeaux. The list of those who have trained there reads like a who’s who of NFL QBs including Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford.

“I think that’s something I’ve seen a lot of improvement on just as far as who I have been working with and some of the stuff we have been working on,” Browning said. “So yeah, it’s gotten better.”

How so?

“A lot of it is just the way I sequence my throws,” Browning said. “My hips and my shoulders opened up at the same time so I wasn’t creating any torque through my torso and that’s huge just for creating velocity and arm strength and stuff like that so that is something I have been working on and just working through the back of my shoulders, the muscles and all of that.

“The big thing is you can only throw as hard, as hard as you want to be able to throw forward you’ve got to be able to stop it in the back with some decelerated muscles so just working stuff like that and working footwork and just opening my eyes to a lot of technique that I thought I had figured out but that I realized there is a lot more to learn from the guys I’m working with.”

But Browning says not to take anything he might be working on to get better for the NFL as any regrets about anything that happened at Washington, even if his final season was a little rockier than he might have liked.

“I was happy with my college career,” he said. “I have no regrets about it. As far as leaving early and all of that I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the things I accomplished in college and have some of the experiences that I had in college, and so I don’t have any regrets about it. Like I said, everybody has got a starting line and we are all running the same race.

“I think any time you’ve got to go through some adversity or anything like that you are going to grow from it, and I’ve always been able to take any hard thing I’ve gone through in life and football and grow from it. So it’s kind of the same approach I am taking through this whole process how I went through my college career. Played a lot of football, put a lot of stuff on tape — some good and some bad — but I have no regrets about staying around or anything like that or have any negative feelings about my college career at all.”

And when asked why he thought he could be successful in the NFL, Browning — who said that he’s met with just about every NFL team here and said he had a “good conversation” with former Seahawks backup QB Austin Davis, who was recently hired by the team as an offensive assistant coach — pointed back to his experience at UW.

“I feel I’m accurate, I move well in the pocket, working on arm strength stuff definitely and I feel like I’m seeing some results and then how I am able to stick with something and stay mentally engaged for a long time,” he said. “I’ve been able to play at a high level of college football for four years and overall been successful in my career, and that’s something that not every quarterback can say — that they have had to go through basically four seasons doing the same monotonous stuff over and over — four seasons of the same stuff — and thrive in that environment. So, I think the NFL season is long, and I have been training. It’s a marathon, and I have been training for the marathon. So that’s where I have my confidence in my ability to play in this league and out side of that it’s just working to get better.”

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