Did Kenny Pickett hurt his draft stock at the NFL Combine?

Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (QB11). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (QB11). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Pittsburgh Panthers’ QB Kenny Pickett just recorded a hand measurement of 8.5 inches in the NFL combine, but how does that affect teams’ opinion of the dynamic passer.

To a casual NFL fan, hand size wouldn’t be a technical statistic that jumped out at you as being crucial for a quarterback. However, the ability to have a firmer grip on the ball is crucial when going against top edge rushers in the NFL.

Let’s take Taysom Hill for example, who has slightly bigger hands than Kenny Pickett (however still the smallest among starting QBs in the 2021 season). According to StatMuse, in the 2020 season, his last full season as a starter, he fumbled the ball 10 times in 16 games. This put him tied for second, just one behind Raiders QB Derek Carr, who has also been criticized in the past for his hand size.

Of course, on the flip side of that, Pickett’s hand size hasn’t affected his exemplary college career. He finished third in Heisman voting this year, threw for over 4000 yards (broke the Pittsburgh Panthers record) on about 67% completion. (credit: Pittsburgh Panthers). Going into the first round of mocks, he looked to be contested alongside Liberty’s Malik Willis for this years ‘QB1’, but has this recent information changed that?

Did Kenny Pickett hurt his draft stock?

As mentioned earlier, it looked as if some scouts had Pickett as their QB1 in this year’s draft, with a few teams looking to upgrade in that area. The Broncos, Vikings, Giants, Steelers, and Panthers could all be looking for a new field general.

With the NFL combine news, this could place Malik Willis, Matt Corral, and Desmond Ridder in much stronger positions to be taken higher up the board than Pickett. Willis and Ridder have been compared to Pickett throughout the scouting process due to their abilities to scramble out of the pocket with speed.

Despite the hand size being a weakness to Pickett’s draft stock in the combine, there were plenty of strengths that scouts will take with them come draft day on April 28th.

Pickett’s throwing mechanics are arguably the best in this year’s draft class, he spins the ball fantastically on the deep throw, not to mention the almost perfect accuracy when throwing 50+ yards.

He has also shown his ability to be effective outside of the pocket. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.73 seconds, putting him third out of all QBs, behind Desmond Ridder and Brown’s QB EJ Perry.

Who takes Pickett?

Look, Pickett’s hand size will no doubt be in the back of scouts minds. Against top pass rushers in the NFL he could quite easily find himself fumbling the ball due to his inability to keep hold of it.

However, I do think his throwing technique and raw acceleration make him a very hard QB to pass up on, whether that is above Willis or Ridder I’m not sure.

Next. 2022 NFL Draft: Best fit with first pick for the Buffalo Bills. dark

I currently have Kenny Pickett staying in Pitt… I think the Steelers take him with the 20th pick in this year’s draft. They should be replacing Big Ben with a young and mobile QB, and he’s not short of receiver options with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool out on the field with him.

Where do you think Pickett goes? Leave a comment or tweet me!