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2020 NFL draft: Breaking down the combine quarterback measurements from a Patriots perspective

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Related: Building the ideally-sized Patriots quarterback

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Georgia vs Baylor Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, quarterback measurements took place at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis and a total of 18 passers were taken a closer look at in terms of height, weight, arm length and hand size. And while measurements — or frankly, the combine as a whole — are only one piece of the puzzle that is the pre-draft process, they can help teams further adjust their draft board two months removed from the actual player election weekend.

As is the case with all numbers, of course, they are subject to interpretation depending on the scouts or teams looking at them. When it comes to Monday’s measurements, we will therefore take a look at them from a New England Patriots perspective. After all, we already tried to build the ideally-sized Patriots quarterback last year by looking at the quarterback drafts of the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era that were invited to the combine.

The averages of their measurements plus the addition of 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham give us an indication about what the team might be aiming at when looking at quarterbacks:

Patriots quarterback measurements

Method Height Weight Arm Length Hand Size
Method Height Weight Arm Length Hand Size
Average 6029 225 32.46 9.39
Median 6027 224 32.13 9.38

Some of the features that stood out when calculating the averages were height and hand size. New England under Bill Belichick likes to invest draft picks in tall passers, with Rohan Davey, Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling the smallest players brought in by the team during or after the draft. All three of them were measured near 6’2 — below the average height of 6’3 the Patriots seem to be aiming at.

When it comes to hand size, the team seemed to be more willing to invest in passers with hands below nine inches before 2008. However, the approach changed after neither Kliff Kingsbury (8 1/2) nor Kevin O’Connell (8 7/8) found success in New England. It would be naive to solely blame their hand size on that, of course, but former Patriots director of player personnel Scott Pioli afterwards alluded to the team consciously making the decision to target passers with bigger hands.

So where does that leave this year’s quarterback prospects? Let’s take a look at their measurements to find out:

Combine quarterback measurements

Player School Height Weight Arm Length Hand Size
Player School Height Weight Arm Length Hand Size
Kelly Bryant Missouri 6031 229 32 2/8 9 4/8
Joe Burrow LSU 6034 221 30 7/8 9
Kevin Davidson Princeton 6041 224 30 7/8 8 2/8
Jacob Eason Washington 6057 231 32 7/8 9 4/8
Jake Fromm Georgia 6017 219 31 1/8 8 7/8
Anthony Gordon Washington St. 6023 205 31 9 6/8
Justin Herbert Oregon 6062 236 32 7/8 10
Jalen Hurts Oklahoma 6010 222 31 6/8 9 6/8
Brian Lewerke Michigan St. 6024 213 32 1/8 10 5/8
Jordan Love Utah St. 6036 224 32 5/8 10 4/8
Jake Luton Oregon St. 6061 224 31 6/8 10 3/8
Cole McDonald Hawaii 6031 215 32 2/8 9 6/8
Steven Montez Colorado 6040 231 32 6/8 9 3/8
James Morgan Florida International 6040 229 33 3/8 9 6/8
Shea Patterson Michigan 6007 212 30 4/8 9 3/8
Nate Stanley Iowa 6036 235 32 5/8 10
Tua Tagovailoa Alabama 6000 217 30 4/8 10

When looking at the Patriots’ averages listed above, we can see that some passers like Missouri’s Kelly Bryant, LSU’s Joe Burrow, Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke and Hawaii’s Cole McDonald come very close to their preferred target size. What we can also see is that a number of players on that list might be too short for the team’s liking — not necessarily a disqualifier per se, but something that will impact how the team views them in their overall grading system.

The most prominent of those players is Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, one of the most intriguing players in this year’s draft. A terrific college quarterback that posted great numbers as a pocket passer despite his deficiency in height compared to conventional NFL standards, New England investing in Tagovailoa to potentially back up and succeed Tom Brady one day would be a surprise based on his measurement of 6’0 let alone the fact that he is projected to become a top-10 draft pick in late April.

Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Michigan’s Shea Patterson are also smaller than the aforementioned Patriots quarterbacks previously tracked.

One player on the lower end of the spectrum, and the same height as the Davey-Hoyer-Etling trifecta, is Georgia’s Jake Fromm. At a hair below 6’2, he would still fit into New England’s prototype in terms of height. What might hurt Fromm’s stock in the Patriots’ eyes, however, are his comparatively small hands who are below the 9-inch threshold New England appeared to have established following Kevin O’Connell’s draft selection in 2008.

In fact, only one quarterback on the list has smaller hands: Princeton’s Kevin Davidson was measured at 8 2/8 — smaller than any quarterback the Patriots have ever selected in the draft, trailing Kliff Kingsbury’s 8 1/2. But again, the number will likely not take him off the team’s draft board unless when looked at in a vacuum. However, the team does not do that: it analyzes the entire body of work before placing a player on its board or leaving him off altogether.

Size alone does not make or break a draft prospect’s outlook when it comes to the Patriots. Now, obviously, it seems more likely that the team prefers a quarterback like 6’4 James Morgan over smaller ones like Tagovailoa or Hurts — the club’s track record speaks for itself. But if New England and its head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick have taught us one thing it’s that we should expect anything.