Malik Willis the New Favorite to Be First QB Taken in 2022 NFL Draft After Pickett’s Hand Measures Small

Kenny Pickett throwing football

FILE – Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) passes against Clemson during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Pitt QB Kenny Pickett’s NFL draft stock drops after 8.5-inch hand measurement
Only 9 QB prospects in NFL history have smaller hands than Pickett
Find the odds, betting analysis, and prediction below

Is the hand size of projected first-round pick Kenny Pickett getting out of hand?

Things got goofy early at the 2022 NFL Combine, as Pickett’s small throwing hand became a major topic of discussion on Day 1.

That may have spooked oddsmakers more than NFL teams, as the Pitt product — widely considered to be the first QB off the board April 28 in the NFL Draft odds — has faded behind Liberty’s Malik Willis.

First QB Selected in 2022 NFL Draft Odds


Malik Willis

Kenny Pickett

Sam Howell

Matt Corral

Desmond Ridder

Carson Strong

Bailey Zappe

Kaleb Eleby

Odds as of March 3 at FanDuel

Prior to the measurements, Pickett was a +120 favorite, with Willis back at +150 odds.

Let’s find out if this measurement goes hand-in-hand with potential success at the pivot position.

Pickett Hands Will Be Smallest in the NFL

While small hands shouldn’t seem to be an issue, it’s the fact that Pickett’s are in some rare company, after measuring just 8.5 inches.

NFL analyst Warren Sharp laid it out pretty bare: there are only nine QB prospects in the history of the league that have had smaller hands than Pickett. That’s not a small sample size either, as 663 QB hopefuls have had their hands measured since 1987.

perspective on Pickett’s 8.5 inch hands

of 663 QBs w measured hand sizes since 1987, only 9 had smaller than 8.5″ hands

there is no QB in the NFL with 8.5″ hands

there has been no QB to enter the NFL in at least 5 yrs w 8.5″ hands

last successful QB w 8.5″ hands was Mike Vick

— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 3, 2022

Currently, there is no active quarterback in the NFL with hands that small, and none have even entered the league at that size in the last five years. Only New Orleans’ Saints on-again-off-again QB Taysom Hill had hands that currently measured under 9.0 inches, at 8.75.

There has not been a quarterback in the NFL with hands that small since Michael Vick. The Falcons and Eagles starter played in the league from 2001-2015. Vick was a 4-time Pro Bowler that threw for over 22,000 yards in his career across four different teams.

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Can Pickett Play the QB Position?

If his senior season is any indication, Pickett is at least as good as any other QB hopeful entering the draft. He threw for 4,319 yards, completing 67.2% of his passes. Pickett also threw for and ACC-record 42 touchdowns against just seven interceptions.

Kenny Pickett 19 yard TD to Jaylon Barden! #Miami #Pitt

— Sideline CFB (@SidelineCFB) October 30, 2021

Playing in a cold-weather city like Pittsburgh should quell some of those fears — though he did wear two gloves during games. While it’s not the norm in the NFL, it’s a preference thing, and something we’ve seen before.

Teddy Bridgewater is Teddy Two-Gloves, while Ben Roethlisberger has doubled up in colder games, while Peyton Manning did it during the tail end of his career.

WIDE OPEN 🙌#ProBowlVote | @Juiceup__3 | @_BigBen7 | 📺: CBS

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 5, 2021

Still, in six home games — four after in the month of October and beyond — Pickett threw for 2,519 yards, completing 69% of his passes and tossing 25 TDs with six interceptions.

Pickett’s Fumbles are Concerning

He did also fumble 38 times in his college career, losing 26. However, there’s no real correlation between small hands and fumbling. Take, for example, Dallas pivot Dak Prescott. One of the largest sets of hands in the league, measuring 10.88 inches, he fumbled 14 times last year.

Considering retirement after I was informed the football will be slipping out of my tiny hands. Please keep me in your thoughts.

— Joey Burrow (@JoeyB) February 24, 2020

Joe Burrow, who once upon a time had his own hand issues at the combine after his hand was measured at nine inches, fumbled just five times. He also was able to throw 34 TD passes and lead the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years.

First QB Taken in 2022 NFL Draft Prediction

As always, there are QB-needy teams in this draft, and game film should be a strong enough deterrent to get past Pickett’s hand size. For that reason, he’s got value here with these lengthened odds.

I asked one NFL QB coach about Kenny Pickett’s hand size.

“That’s all bulls–t. Can he play or can he not play? I think he can play.”

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 2, 2022

In what is considered a weaker QB class, he’s been mostly mocked in the late teens to the 20s, in the range of the Saints and Steelers. Some have pegged him to go as high as sixth, where the Panthers need QB help.

With so many strong defensive players at the top of the board, it’s hard to see Detroit at two or Houston drafting third overreach, though trading down for a bounty is definitely in play.

I’m not sure where Malik Willis’ floor is…but I think his ceiling is outer space. 🚀🚀🚀

— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) March 4, 2022

Atlanta’s in the 8-spot and may want Matt Ryan to mentor to him, while the QB-desperate Broncos are at #9 with Washington (11) and Minnesota (12) not far behind.

I think Willis is also a good prospect, but in a less-than-stellar field, he’s suddenly shot to the top. He’s got a strong arm, and his dual play ability is obviously a weapon — he’s run for over 1,800 yards and 27 TDs in his two seasons with the Flames — but Pickett should be the pick here, hands down.

The pick: Pickett (+175)

Author: wpadmin

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