As the top prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft descend on Indianapolis for the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, the NFL world waits with bated breath for the takes to fly as the measurements come in. Player X can’t succeed at that weight. Player Y isn’t fast enough to go in the first round. How could Quarterback Z possibly grip the ball with hands that small? And so on, and so on.
The truth is that few measurables are going to be complete disqualifiers. However, size and athleticism are important pieces of the puzzle when evaluating prospects.
Here are the measurement thresholds that have been a factor when it comes to NFL playing time over the past few years and the outliers who have found their way into starting roles despite their physical or athletic limitations.
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QBs with sub-9-inch hands and 100-plus dropbacks over the past three seasons
|Player||Hand size||Dropbacks since 2019|
|Jared Goff||9.0 inches||1,800|
|Ryan Tannehill||9.0 inches||1,461|
|Joe Burrow||9.0 inches||1,045|
|Drew Lock||9.0 inches||783|
This is going to be one of the hotter topics of debate when measurements start to come in, as there is an expectation a likely first-round selection — Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett — comes in below that 9-inch threshold.
The Pittsburgh product's hands reportedly measured 8.25 inches last spring, and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Pickett declined to have his hands measured at the Senior Bowl because of a double-jointed thumb that impacts the usual measurements.
Similar concerns were expressed with Joe Burrow two years ago. And while those concerns haven't stopped the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback from entering the conversation for one of the league’s top quarterbacks early in his NFL career, it is at least worth noting that no quarterback with smaller than nine-inch hands has played significant snaps in recent years. Pickett could come in three-quarters of an inch below that threshold based on prior reported measurements.
It’s going to come down to how much stock different front offices and coaching staffs put into hand size. Some teams will find it much easier than others to look past it with all the positives Pickett brings to the table.
QBs 6-foot or shorter with 250-plus dropbacks over the past three seasons
|Player||Height||Dropbacks since 2019|
|Kyler Murray||5’ 10”||1,803|
|Russell Wilson||5’ 11”||1,730|
|Drew Brees||6’ 0”||795|
Height is another measurement that has been overblown previously, but the table above highlights that there isn’t a surplus of NFL quarterbacks checking in at or beneath six feet.
The only three at the position to record even 250 dropbacks since 2019 — roughly half of one season — are Murray, Wilson and Brees. That list includes one of the more intelligent and accurate quarterbacks of all time and two quarterbacks who are more than capable of escaping the pocket and creating their own throwing lanes.