Tune in to NFL Network this week to see Pitt's Kenny Pickett, Liberty's Malik Willis and Ole Miss' Matt Corral -- three of the most highly touted QB prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft -- in action at their pro days:
- Path to the Draft Pro Day Special: Pitt -- 8 p.m. ET on Monday, March 21.
- Path to the Draft Pro Day Special: Liberty -- 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 22.
- Path to the Draft Pro Day Special: Ole Miss -- 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 23.
An interesting thing happened to Kenny Pickett's hand between the NFL Scouting Combine and his pro day.
It grew an eighth of an inch.
The Pitt quarterback's hand measured 8 1/2 inches at the combine on March 3, sparking conversation about whether having small hands for the position -- nine inches is considered to be adequate -- should hurt his draft stock. On Monday -- 18 days later -- Pickett's hand measured 8 5/8 inches, per NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala. It's a clear improvement but still short of the desired size for an NFL passer. The only QBs to start a game in 2021 with a hand that measured less than nine inches at the combine were Brandon Allen and Jake Fromm (both 8 7/8 inches), according to NFL Research. Pickett tied for the third-smallest hand measurement of any QB at the combine since 2003.
It's not unheard of for a player's hand measurement to increase leading up to the draft, though. Allen, for example, saw his measurement jump by 3/8 of an inch between the 2016 Senior Bowl and the '16 combine, thanks to his utilization of massage therapy. On Monday, Pickett credited his uptick in hand size to stretches he had been performing since the combine.
"Yeah, hopefully put the questions to bed," he told Kinkhabwala after his workout, when asked about the hand measurement. "If people have more questions, I don't know what else to say, what else to do. But yeah, it is what it is."
Pickett, who has a double-jointed thumb, declined to have his hand measured at this year's Senior Bowl. QB hand size often becomes a hot topic each draft season, with some scouts expressing concern about ball security for passers with hands on the small side, especially when they have to battle the elements in rainy and/or cold conditions.
Despite the hand-size chatter, Pickett remains a leading contender to be the first quarterback selected this year. NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks rates him the No. 1 QB in the draft, as does NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah. The fifth-year senior is coming off a breakthrough season. He threw for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions on his way to earning a trip to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
As you would expect for a prospect of his stature, there was high interest in his pro day. GMs Kevin Colbert (Steelers), Scott Fitterer (Panthers) and Terry Fontenot (Falcons) were in attendance. Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo were also at the pro day, and the Carolina triumvirate took a good look at Pickett's grip on the football after his workout. Nine teams had QB coaches on the RSVP list for the event: the Commanders, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Lions, Panthers, Saints, Seahawks and Titans.
Pickett completed a 56-throw script during his throwing session on Monday, and by all accounts, he offered NFL teams a reminder of his ability to throw with timing and touch both from the pocket and on the move.