Will Kenny Pickett's hand size really matter in the NFL?

Kenny Pickett works out at the 2022 NFL Combine
Kenny Pickett works out at the 2022 NFL Combine

While the quarterback class of the 2022 NFL Draft isn’t considered one of the strongest in recent memory, Kenny Pickett was able to stand out as one of the stories of the combine. But more so for questions being raised over his hand size rather than outstanding athletic ability.

The University of Pittsburgh quarterback saw his throwing hand measure in at 8.5 inches at the combine in Indianapolis, which is smaller than any other current signal-caller in the NFL, but will it matter?

Pickett is merely the product of a changing league

Historically, the combine usually sees the throwing hands of quarterbacks measure over 9 inches; however, it’s important to remember that this is an ever-changing league, and the quarterback position is not immune from that.

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Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray arrived into the league with differing body types to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. However, both have taken the league by storm with their athletic, run-heavy style.

Looking at Mahomes’ measurements, the Super Bowl winner measured around 9.25 inches, marginally bigger than Pickett.

Compared to Aaron Rodgers’ gargantuan 10.125-inch hands, the lack of size has hardly mattered for the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, with Mahomes ascending and becoming the most impactful quarterback in the sport right now.

Draft season causes hysteria

Many scouts and recruiters fear that a lack of hand size for Pickett could result in more fumbles and a lack of control of the ball, while detractors of those views will claim that Pickett should, in theory, be able to get a tighter spiral on the ball.

The build-up to the NFL Draft is a process that causes hysteria, with the drama surrounding Pickett’s hand measurement being the most recent example.

Teams are putting so much money on the table for these young prospects, especially at the quarterback position, that they have to take an in-depth look at every aspect of a player’s composition.

People may jokingly refer to the scene in Kevin Costner's Draft Day’ where a general manager decides on a player because he discovered none of his teammates had gone to the individual’s birthday party. However, there is a lot of truth in this portrayal of the comically rigorous nature of the scouting process.

Pickett’s draft stock will not be damaged

Quarterback is the most critical position on the field. It’s why they are paid so much and why teams often give up so much to get a good one.

The teams who have missed out on Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson will now face a chaotic couple of months in which they need to decide whether or not to move up the draft board and take a quarterback.

Even without a standout candidate like Trevor Lawrence in 2021, the best passer in the class will inevitably rise on the draft board far beyond what their ability warrants. (For reference, Lawrence’s hand size was measured at 10 inches and endured a dreadful debut year in the league.)

A similar draft surge will be the case for Pickett, despite his 8.5-inch hands. Teams won’t let that detract them from making the gamble, which, if successful, could revolutionize a franchise for the next decade and make them an awful lot of money.

There isn’t a direct correlation between hand size and quarterback production in the NFL. It isn’t like a cornerback lacking a significant vertical jump.

Too many players have arrived in the NFL with what the league’s history would determine as “good-sized hands” and failed. JaMarcus Russell had hands measuring 9.63 inches, while Ryan Leaf had 10.5-inch hands. Both were out of the NFL after four seasons.

Pickett’s ability to lead and march down the field will determine whether he will be successful in the NFL. A quarterback’s hand-size has scarcely mattered and likely won’t in Pickett’s case.

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Edited by Jay Lokegaonkar
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