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Joe Burrow’s small hands are the biggest NFL combine story

Joe Burrow has small hands. That we know. Does it matter? Time will tell.

According to Yahoo Sports, the expected No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of LSU had his hands measured at nine inches at the NFL Combine. That was tied for the smallest of first-round quarterbacks measured at the combine since 2009 – Ryan Tannehill and Jared Goff are the others — according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Both of them were coached by Bengals coach Zac Taylor, whose Bengals team has the No. 1 pick in the draft. Taylor, who played quarterback at Nebraska, has small hands as well, measured to be nine inches at the 2007 combine.

Thirty-five quarterbacks have been drafted in the opening round since 2008, and their average hand size is 9.7 inches. Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ hands were measured at 9.25 inches. In the last decade, only three quarterbacks with nine-inch hands have even attempted more than 300 passes. Those players are Goff, Tannehill and Chad Henne.

Joe Burrow
Joe BurrowGetty Images

The other two top-rated quarterbacks in the draft, Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama and Oregon’s Justin Herbert, were measured with 10-inch hands.

It could mean nothing, just one of those combine quirks that draw attention. Burrow, the Heisman Trophy winner who led LSU to the national championship, may be an anomaly, an elite quarterback with small hands. Or this could be a physical limitation that will hurt him in the NFL.

The Bengals will have to decide.