Positive, the 2022 QB class isn’t one of the best we’ve ever seen. There’s not a Trevor Lawrence to battle over or a Joe Burrow to commerce picks for. However is it actually so unhealthy that we have now to proceed to fabricate drama over poor Kenny Pickett’s hand dimension?
On ESPN’s Get Up this morning, Mel Kiper mentioned that of the individuals on the NFL he spoke to concerning the Pickett hand dimension debate, together with present and former GMs and personnel administrators, “not one mentioned it was a big situation.”
“They laughed about it,” Kiper mentioned. It’s an excellent signal for Pickett — and maybe yet one more knock on the NFL Scouting Mix, an occasion that’s coming underneath an excessive amount of scrutiny for its precise usefulness in figuring out draft picks and precisely evaluating gamers, particularly with the emergence of professional days at particular person faculties.
The metrics like 40-yard sprint instances and bench press reps and, sure, hand dimension, are good and neat and provides journalists headlines and analysts speaking factors and coaches clear information, however we will all agree that they’re ineffective with out on-field context. And even with on-field context, these measurements are generally given much more weight than they should, particularly contemplating that the mix is just not geared towards the consolation and success of gamers, however towards the feasibility of broadcasting exercises for the NFL cash machine.
As the previous Pitt QB heads to Indianapolis this week after main the Panthers to an 11-2 season, his hand dimension stands out as the largest (or smallest) quarterback story of the 2022 NFL Mix. Anticipated to be the primary QB chosen within the draft, over Liberty’s Malik Willis, Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, the looming query of Pickett’s limitations will come to a head (to a hand? Sorry — getting carried away) this week when his hand is lastly measured. The Pickett hand-size debate started at this yr’s Senior Bowl, when he raised questions after declining to have his palms measured, a regular metric for quarterbacks, and he had trouble with accuracy within the rain with an NFL soccer throughout a Senior Bowl apply.
He’s double jointed, which limits his capacity to increase his hand flat for correct measurement, however doesn’t precisely replicate his grip when his hand is wrapped across the soccer. Nevertheless, we have now the context of this measurement available to us, making this one of many stupider discussions of this yr’s draft cycle. Throughout Pickett’s senior yr at Pitt, he threw for greater than 4,300 yards and tossed 42 touchdowns. He additionally gave us maybe essentially the most legendary play of the 2021 season — the faux slide within the ACC championship sport that was nearly instantly banned by the NCAA, making it much more legendary.
If the query is concerning the capacity to deal with the ball in chilly climate, one should merely take a look at Pittsburgh’s (and the remainder of the ACC’s) fall local weather. If the query is a few quarterback’s capacity to reach the league with out assembly the ten-inch mark, one should merely look to Joe “9-Inch-Fingers” Burrow, who, for those who wanted a reminder, led the Bengals to the Tremendous Bowl final month. After his measurement on the 2020 mix drew adverse consideration to the long run number-one draft decide, he memorably tweeted, “Contemplating retirement after I used to be knowledgeable the soccer might be slipping out of my tiny palms. Please hold me in your ideas.”
Burrow is just the latest instance of numerous NFL QBs whose palms didn’t “measure up” and nonetheless had profitable careers. Ultimately, it’ll be a uncommon workforce that truly cares about this BS, as confirmed by Kiper. Additionally, the “dimension issues” delusion was debunked by ESPN two years, in the past. Nonetheless, this largely useless metric could (hopefully) be one other signal of the instances for the way forward for the outdated and overhyped NFL Mix.