For Pitt's Kenny Pickett, the NFL business at hand may be his small hands

TIM BENZ
The (Greensburg) Tribune Review (TNS)
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) looks to pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Questions over the size of Kenny Pickett's hands have long been part of his pre-draft conversation.

According to the ProFootballNetwork, the former Pitt Panthers quarterback is reported to have hands that measure only 8 1/4 inches. The standard by which most quarterbacks are measured is 9 inches.

The concern is ball security and grip. Especially for any team that may draft him into a cold-weather city. Picket often plays with gloves on both hands.

When Tony Pauline and Ian Cummings discussed this angle to Pickett's draft stock in December, it was pointed out that he is double-jointed. At least in his right (throwing) hand thumb anyway.

Because of the way his thumb sticks out, it causes his hands to perhaps measure smaller than what they are. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network posted a photo to illustrate on Monday.

That said, according to the PFN story, Pickett's double-jointed thumb, in a way, seems to compensate for whatever natural grip issues may be at play.

"Somebody said to me, 'if you ever meet Pickett and he shakes your hand, the thumb seems all out of wack.' That's because it comes out sideways, and it doesn't go straight up," Pauline said. "And what that double-jointed thumb does, it makes it easier for him to grip the football. ... They'll put the ball in his hands, and they'll try to beat it out of his hands to see if he can grip the football. But what I'm hearing is, this double-jointed thumb on Kenny Pickett's throwing hand is actually working to his advantage and may offset the concerns about the small hand size."

However, the issue is apparently worrisome enough to Pickett, that he doesn't want his hands measured at the Senior Bowl this week. He bypassed the chance to have them measured there and will instead wait to do so until the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis March 1-7.

Trying to get bigger hands: So, as Pelissero points out, Pickett will be doing exercises to get his hands to measure bigger between now and then.

First of all, is that even possible? Secondly, if it does help, how does it impact someone if they are double-jointed?

The NFL Network had a post on Monday that looked at two Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks. Joe Burrow's hands are right at the 9-inch mark. That was the cause for much consternation leading up to the draft in 2020.

Seeing as how he became the No. 1 overall pick and just quarterbacked the Bengals to the Super Bowl, he seems to be doing just fine.

Unless, of course, that 3/4 of an inch between him and Pickett makes all the difference in the world.

Then there is Cincy backup Brandon Allen, who is alleged to have increased his hand measurement by 3/8 of an inch between the 2016 Senior Bowl and that year's combine through massage therapy.

No word on if Allen is double-jointed though.

Inspirational story: Somehow — despite this obviously restrictive affliction — Pickett managed to throw for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns in the ACC this year.

A truly inspirational story, indeed. Here's to hoping that Pickett can continue to overcome his obvious shortcomings and soldier to a successful NFL career against all odds.

We'll await that hand measurement in March and see if it's enough to turn off the Steelers from potentially drafting Pickett if he is still on the board at pick No. 20.

If so, Mason Rudolph and his 9 1/8 inch hands (11th percentile in 2018) will just have to be good enough.