One of the most common negatives attributed to Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett as a draft prospect was his hand size. While many considered the issue overblown and trivial, Alex Kozora of Steelers Depot relays that Pickett was told by multiple teams that his hand size would determine whether or not he was on their draft board.
This story is less about Pickett’s hand size and more about the fact that multiple teams threatened that he would be taken off their board altogether if his hands didn’t measure up. Specifically, Pickett says that he was told that he would be taken off some teams’ boards if his hands were not nine inches. Lo and behold, they measured up at eight and a half inches.
The teams that drafted a highly ranked quarterback not named Pickett were the Falcons, Titans, Panthers, and Commanders. It’s no guarantee that these were the teams that passed on Pickett solely because of his hand size, but they all did pass on Pickett in the first round. Where are they now?
Atlanta is attempting to move forward with their third-round pick from last year, Desmond Ridder. Ridder made four starts last year, winning two and losing two. He only averaged 177 passing yards per game while throwing two touchdowns in four games, but he had no interceptions. He’ll have to hold off former Washington starter Taylor Heinicke next year. Tennessee is still rolling with Ryan Tannehill, but the Titans drafted a quarterback in the second round this year in Will Levis who will now challenge last year’s third-round pick, Malik Willis, for the right to replace Tannehill eventually. Carolina traded for the No. 1 overall pick this year to draft a new starter in Bryce Young. Matt Coral, their third-round pick from last year, will be QB3 behind Young and Andy Dalton. Washington, like the Falcons, will try to start their fifth-round pick from last year, Sam Howell. Howell made one start last year, beating the Cowboys in the season finale while throwing for 169 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. They have veteran Jacoby Brissett as a strong backup plan.
Pickett took over as the Steelers’ starter in Week 4 of his rookie season and only missed one game after. He started 12 of 13 appearances throwing for 2,404 yards for seven touchdowns and nine interceptions. He added 237 yards and three scores on the ground. He won Pittsburgh’s season-long quarterback competition last year and is expected to be the continued starter in a very similar-looking position room this year with the most experience of any of last year’s rookie quarterbacks. Was it worth it to pass on Pickett because of his hand size? It may be too early to tell, but even the teams sitting in a better position now than they were before the 2022 draft look better despite their quarterback choice last year. As of right now, Pickett appears to have to most potential of the second-year quarterbacks, aside from maybe Brock Purdy.
Here are some other rumors surrounding the Steelers’ quarterbacks:
- Neither Mason Rudolph nor Mitchell Trubisky were expected to return to the Steelers this offseason. Trubisky was pleasantly surprised after not expecting to be brought back but says it was an “easy decision” to return, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rudolph didn’t intend to return, feeling he was treated unfairly last season. He even asserts that he had offers from other teams this offseason. Ultimately, after rookie minicamps concluded, nothing materialized into a new deal and Rudolph wanted to be with a team by the start of organized team activities. He opted to remain in Pittsburgh as opposed to starting fresh somewhere new.
- Dulac provided us with some new details on Trubisky’s new contract, as well. The $8MM that Trubisky was reported to be making this year is composed of the veteran minimum salary of $1.08MM and a signing bonus of $6.92MM. Dulac adds that “it was (Trubisky’s) relationship with Pickett – and the way he put aside the disappointment of being benched early in the season – that drove the Steelers to extend” the veteran quarterback.