Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett deflects hand size questions, emphasizes skills at Senior Bowl

Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett's hand size has been a hot topic of conversation at the Senior Bowl, but he's out to prove his critics wrong.

MOBILE, AL — Hand size? Grip? Potential fumbling issues? Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett effectively stiff-armed questions about his lack of ideal hand size in what has rapidly become a topic of conversation at the Senior Bowl when he declined to have his throwing hand measured at the all-star game.

Kenny Pickett counters the argument that hand size will be an issue

Kenny Pickett emphasized that he had no trouble playing in adverse weather conditions in Pennsylvania and plans to stretch out his hand prior to an official measurement at the NFL Scouting Combine. He hopes to dispel assumptions that this will hamper his ability to handle the football at the next level.

A Heisman Trophy finalist and winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Pickett is ranked as a first-round draft pick by NFL Draft analysts.

“I think that’s like the No. 1 thing for quarterbacks in the draft process every year is hand size,” Pickett said Tuesday at the Senior Bowl. “The good news is that I play in Pittsburgh. Anyone that’s been to Pittsburgh knows it’s not the nicest place to play in October, November.

“So, I’ve had experience playing in tough weather, and I didn’t measure in this week. I just want to give the most measurement I can. I’m working on mobility things.”

Besides not having trouble playing in poor weather conditions, Pickett has a double-jointed thumb, which could help him grip the ball better. This was first reported by PFN Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline back in December.

Pickett’s college career as Pitt quarterback

Pickett, 31-17 as a starter for the Panthers, passed for 12,303 career yards and 81 touchdowns. He finished with 16 300-yard passing games and five 400-yard passing games, the most in school history from a university that produced Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. No surprise, but Pickett emulates Marino and his stellar career.

“He’s a great role model to have,” Pickett said. “Coming from your school and then going out to having the successful career that he had, I really want to strive and follow his footsteps. I want to make him proud.”

The Panthers won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship as Pickett finished with 253 passing yards and 2 passing touchdowns in addition to a 53-yard touchdown run.

“I think everyone knows the kind of year I just had, and it was a lot different from the previous three years,” Pickett said. “So I just want to show that playing at a high level for 13 games isn’t kind of a luck thing. I can be the same guy every week, and I want to be the same guy now, down here in Mobile and just show consistency.”

What Jim Nagy is saying about Kenny Pickett

Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy, a former New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks scout, compared Pickett’s hard-nosed demeanor to Cincinnati Bengals star quarterback and former top overall pick Joe Burrow.

“Kenny’s got himself in great position in this draft process right now,” Nagy said. “I know that’s just the way he’s wired. And spending time around him, and the kind of guy he is, and talking with the guys at the Manning Camp that have been around him, the guys at Pitt, he’s gonna crush this process.

“I think he’s already starting to in the interviews right now. He’s got a really cool way about him, kind of reminds me a little bit of Burrow when I got to know Joe through this process with the way guys gravitate to him. He’s a leader, it comes easy to him.”

From a Day 3 selection to a top quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft

Nagy first met Pickett at the Manning Academy three years ago and noticed his work ethic.

“I saw a good-looking guy doing the extra work and putting it in,” Nagy said. “That just stuck with me right away.”

A year ago, Nagy thought Pickett was a Day 3 selection or an undrafted free agent.

“I think of myself as a higher player than that, and I wanted to put myself in a better light,” Pickett said. “I wanted to come back and really improve my game with no regrets.”

Now, Pickett is firmly in the conversation to be one of the first quarterbacks taken off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Aaron Wilson is the NFL Insider for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL.

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