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2021 NFL draft: Breaking down the Senior Bowl quarterback measurements from a Patriots perspective

Related: Revisiting the Patriots’ Senior Bowl draft arrivals from 2010 through 2020

Alabama v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Tuesday, player measurements took place at the Senior Bowl and six quarterbacks were also taken a closer look at in terms of height, weight, arm length and hand size. While those measurements — or frankly, the event 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 three 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 the Senior Bowl 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 back in 2019 by looking at the quarterbacks drafted during the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era.

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 potential quarterbacks come the draft:

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 (8.50) nor Kevin O’Connell (8.88) 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 the six passers measured at the Senior Bowl? Let’s take a look at them to find out:

Senior Bowl quarterback measurements

Player School Height Weight Arm length Hand size
Player School Height Weight Arm length Hand size
Ian Book Notre Dame 6000 210 31.25 9.88
Sam Ehlinger Texas 6014 222 30.00 9.75
Feleipe Franks Arkansas 6063 234 33.75 10.00
Mac Jones Alabama 6025 217 32.50 9.75
Kellen Mond Texas A&M 6024 205 33.00 9.25
Jamie Newman Georgia 6027 235 30.50 10.00

What stands out is that all six quarterbacks measured fit what the Patriots have been looking for in terms of hand size in the past two decades: Kellen Mond is more on the lower end of the spectrum, but he is still clearly above the aforementioned Kingsbury and O’Connell. The other five prospects also pass this one test with flying colors.

So, howe about the other measurements to make some determination who may or may not be on New England’s draft radar. In terms of arm length, Ian Book, Sam Ehlinger and Jamie Newman all tested below the team’s averages throughout the years. That does not mean they will not be selected — there are literally dozens of other factors at play — but from a historical perspective, the Patriots never drafted a QB with arms shorter than 31 inches.

The smallest passers picked by the team in that regard were Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014 and Danny Etling four years later. Both Ehlinger and Newman have shorter arms than those two.

In terms of height, meanwhile, Ehlinger again checks in as a below-average passer when measured against New England’s past draft choices. The 6-foot-1 Texas quarterback was not the shortest player at his position group measured on Tuesday, though. That distinction belongs to Notre Dame’s Ian Book who came in at 6-foot-0.

Height is not necessarily a disqualifier as quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray have shown through the years. The Bill Belichick-led Patriots, however, have always had a knack for taller passers as illustrated above. New England picking Book in particular would therefore be a surprise.

As for the biggest name on the list above — Alabama’s Mac Jones — he very much fits what the Patriots historically want from their quarterbacks in terms of size. His 6-foot-2 1/2 height in combination with good arm length and hand size would naturally make him a target for the team based on that alone. Of course, as previously mentioned, no one measurement will make or break a quarterback’s NFL prospects but it all is part of the big mosaic that is the pre-draft process.