By Dan Hiner
With the NFL Combine officially over, scouts and members of the front offices can begin dissecting the new crop of potential prospects.
According to the NFL and talent evaluators, every drill the players competed in, from the bench press to the 40-yard dash, is critical to the draft process. But hand size was one measurement that caught my attention, since scouts started recording it annually.
The theory says, if your hands are larger than nine inches, you’ll be a better NFL quarterback because you can hold onto the ball better.
Brandon Allen, the former quarterback at the University of Arkansas, went to a masseuse to stretch out his fingers prior to the measurement in an attempt to reach the nine-inch mark. The NFL said Allen had 8 7/8 inch hands, which scouts considered a cause for concern.
He was one of the top quarterbacks in the Southeastern Conference, one of the toughest conferences in college football. Allen is 6’1” and 217 pounds. He threw for 3,440 yards, 30 touchdowns, eight interceptions and completed 65.9 percent of his passes last season with the Razorbacks.
So out of curiosity, I decided to measure my hand. And, as a 5’2,” 150-pound sports editor, I can proudly say that my hand measured eight inches, less than an inch smaller than Allen.
So by NFL logic, could I be a Division I quarterback?
So the only thing holding me back is my history of concussions, my 5.10 40-yard dash, my height, a shoulder injury and two knees that crack every time I get off The Jambar couch (the last two are direct results of 11 years of baseball).
YSU head coach Bo Pelini said there will be an open competition for the starting quarterback job in the Summer between Hunter Wells, Ricky Davis and Trent Hosick, a junior college transfer from Western Arizona College.
But no need to worry Pelini, I’ll join the team and bring YSU back to a national championship contender next season. Sure I’m not the most athletic, and I’ve never seen the playbook, but my hands are almost the size of a DI quarterback and apparently that matters.
Teams, coaches and fans want to find a way to accurately evaluate talent, but scouting is an inexact science. You’ll never know what you or your team got in a draftee in any sport, until they step onto the field or the hardwood.
Let’s remember that these are young men that have trained their entire lives for this moment. The next few months will determine if these players get a chance to play in the NFL, and we should remember that there are always exceptions to the rules.
I’m sure there were quarterbacks that had hands smaller than nine inches that led their teams to Super Bowls, made Pro Bowls and took their teams to the playoffs. There have also been quarterbacks that have massive hands that never saw the field and if they did, they weren’t successful for long.
But isn’t that the fun of watching the draft?
We all want to see the next great players, the future hall of famers and the busts. Fans could think of it as a game without a season. We cheer for our teams to make the right decision and get better, and we hope that our rivals choose wrong and suffer the consequences.
I’m sure the NFL will find another unnecessary aspect of the prospects’ physical or mental intangibles to measure in the next few years, and this column probably isn’t going to change anything.
But if that’s the case, Bo, I’m always a phone call or text away if you need a signal caller next season.