PITTSBURGH — Maybe it was a friendly tape measure or maybe those stretches actually worked.
Whatever it was, Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett’s much-discussed hand size increased by ⅛ inch from his official NFL scouting combine measurement, checking in at 8⅝ inches at Pitt’s pro day Monday.
“The stretches work,” Pickett said with a laugh. “It’s the reason why I’ve been doing them. If it helped getting an eighth of an inch, I’ll take it.”
Even with the slightly bigger measurement, Pickett’s hand would still be the smallest of any starter or notable NFL backup. Taysom Hill’s measurement is the next-smallest, recorded as 8¾ inches.
Even though Pickett’s hand size would make him an outlier among NFL quarterbacks, his teammates think the chatter around the measurement is overblown.
“Look at the tape,” tight end Lucas Krull said. “The issue, I think, people want to try and find something to knock a guy on in the media. You can’t find it on the game film. OK, maybe you think he has small hands, well, he shows that he can throw it 65 yards on the dot. I don’t think it’s an issue.”
Pickett, projected to be a first-round pick at the NFL draft next month, threw a handful of deep passes at his pro day workout in Pitt’s indoor facility, launching some that traveled at least 60 yards in the air.
Kroll and receiver Melquise Stovall both said it felt like Pickett’s passes had more zip to them than they did during the season, and Pickett said adding arm strength has been a point of emphasis in his workouts.
“There’s definitely different ways to work arm strength and every offseason I feel l take a leap forward in strength and agility and speed,” he said. “It’s just how hard I train. I think all of that stuff tied in today. I was able to put the ball out there more and throw with some good velocity.”
With Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule, Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and dozens of scouts, coaches and front-office staff from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Commanders and other teams watching, Pickett went through a script of more than 50 throws. Only a couple were overthrown.
To Stovall, it’s yet another sign that Pickett’s hand size is nothing to worry about.
“Obviously he’s slung 60-yarders to us, so hand size hasn’t been a problem,” he said. “We kind of chuckle about it.”