Who is Kenny Pickett? QB's hand size takes NFL world by storm at Combine

Kenny Pickett at the NFL Combine
Kenny Pickett at the NFL Combine

Quarterback prospect Kenny Pickett projects as a first-round draft pick, and he could be the first quarterback drafted in the NFL Draft. For potential first-round draft picks, especially at the quarterback position, NFL teams comb through every prospects’ physical traits and mental traits due to the draft capital, time, and money invested in a player expected to change the fortunes of any NFL team.

Teams expect first-round players to have an immediate impact, and for someone like Pickett, NFL GMs will closely examine both his strengths and weaknesses. Pre-combine scouting reports on Pickett grade him favorably, physically and mentally.

He bypassed last year’s NFL Draft to return for his senior year at Pittsburgh.

However, early reports have also targeted his hand size, which could cause the former Panthers quarterback to fall in the draft.

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The start of the NFL Combine on Thursday finally yielded Pickett’s anticipated hand measurement. At 8½ inches, his hand size comes in as the smallest of any current NFL quarterback.

According to USA today, if Pickett goes in the first round, he would have the smallest hands of any quarterback drafted in the first or second round since 2003. Currently, Jared Goff, Ryan Tannehill, and Joe Burrow rank ahead of Pickett’s hand size with all three quarterbacks measuring in with 9-inch hands.

Kenny Pickett’s NFL Draft profile

2021 ACC Championship - Pittsburgh v Wake Forest
2021 ACC Championship - Pittsburgh v Wake Forest

Overall, Kenny Pickett’s physical profile fits that of a prototypical NFL quarterback. Standing at 6’3” and 220 pounds, Pickett projects as a mobile quarterback with a good pocket presence.

Pro Football Network describes his throwing motion as above average due to its tight and compact movement, which creates efficiency and velocity to push his throws past the outstretched hands of defenders and into his receivers.

His extensive experience at the college level has helped his draft profile from a mental standpoint. Playing in multiple close games and high stakes at the ACC level adds to his intangibles such as poise in clutch situations and a reputation for playing through injuries.

His execution at the collegiate level at a major football program also projects well at the NFL level.

With exceptional throwing mechanics and a level of polish from his five years at Pitt, NFL teams looking for a day one starter that will integrate seamlessly into pro-style offenses will like Kenny Pickett as a first-round pick.

Although his hand size has been the main talking point leading into the combine, Pickett can overcome that shortcoming if drafted to the right team that will surround him with help rather than relying on him to save a franchise.

As a comp, former top overall pick Alex Smith also had smaller hand measurements (just over nine inches) and still managed to have a decent NFL career.

As a number one overall pick, however, Smith never quite lived up to those lofty expectations – especially when Aaron Rodgers was available for that draft class and ended up falling into the Green Bay Packers’ laps.

Kenny Pickett is not projected to be the number one overall pick, but with the right team (solid defense and rushing offense), he could smoothly transition to the next level and be a plus starter for an NFL franchise.

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Edited by LeRon Haire
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