In reality, in keeping with ESPN, no quarterback within the league has such small hands. Of the 31 quarterbacks to throw at least 270 passes final yr, none measured under 9 inches. Per Sharp Football Analysis, no quarterback with a hand measurement of 8½ or under has entered the NFL up to now 5 years. The most up-to-date quarterback with that hand measurement who had considerable success within the league was Michael Vick.
By comparability, Joe Burrow’s hand measures 9 inches, but that quantity triggered sufficient chatter for the previous LSU quarterback to joke at the 2020 combine that he was “considering retirement.” Instead, Burrow went on to grow to be the No. 1 choose within the draft, and there wasn’t a lot discuss his hand measurement this previous season as he led the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl.
As with all measurements and drill outcomes at the combine, hand measurement is a chunk of the puzzle that NFL groups use to evaluate gamers’ potential to succeed at soccer’s highest degree. Any outlier outcome — resembling, say, a large receiver working a very gradual time within the 40-yard sprint — might trigger some groups to push a prospect down their draft boards. Some of the priority with hand measurement goes to a quarterback’s skill to grip NFL footballs, which might be greater than these utilized in school, resulting in hypothesis about accuracy or fumbling points.
In Pickett’s case, that might be the distinction between changing into the primary quarterback taken on this yr’s draft, going behind one or two others or probably even slipping out of the primary spherical altogether. Unlike Burrow, whose extraordinary senior season made him a slam-dunk candidate to be drafted first, Pickett just isn’t extensively predicted to be chosen within the prime 10.
This yr’s quarterback crop is seen as comparatively weak, significantly in comparison with final yr’s; gamers at that place went within the first three picks after which once more at eleventh and fifteenth. That might assist maintain Pickett atop his class, relying on how strongly sure NFL entrance workplaces really feel about hand measurement.
“That’s all bulls—,” an unidentified NFL quarterbacks coach instructed draft analyst Matt Miller on Wednesday. “Can he play or can he not play? I think he can play.”
“I think the media runs with it more than I’d say NFL teams do,” Pickett, identified for sporting gloves on every of his hands in video games, instructed reporters Wednesday. “There wasn’t much talk about that in all the formal interviews and informal interviews I’ve had so far this week.”
Those interviews, although, got here earlier than groups had an official quantity for Pickett’s throwing hand. There had already been discuss it at the Senior Bowl, significantly on one wet day when Pickett appeared to have some hassle together with his passes.
Then once more, it has been identified to rain and to be chilly and in any other case disagreeable at instances in Pittsburgh, the place Pickett accomplished 67.2 p.c of his passes final season for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns and simply seven interceptions. That efficiency earned the 23-year-old a number of awards, all-American recognition and a third-place end within the 2021 Heisman Trophy voting.
“It’s a complete joke, measuring this, measuring that,” Pitt Coach Pat Narduzzi stated final month of the chatter about Pickett’s hand measurement. “If they want to measure anything, what they should do is do open-heart surgery, go check and see how big that chest cavity is and how big the heart is inside that chest, if you really want to analyze. What are we talking about? There’s nobody out there who’s going to play harder and put everything he’s got into it than Kenny Pickett. This kid doesn’t have a flaw. That’s what [scouts] do.”
Of the opposite first-round quarterbacks candidates at the combine, Liberty’s Malik Willis had a 9½-inch hand, Mississippi’s Matt Corral checked in at 9⅝, North Carolina’s Sam Howell was at 9⅛, and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder obtained a hefty measurement of 10. The solely different quarterback whose hand was measured at beneath 9 inches was Kansas State’s Skylar Thompson at 8⅝.