Manziel, Stockton: it’s all in the hands

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 8.31.46 AM            Much is being made of the fact Johnny Manziel is shorter than 6-feet tall, a negative when it comes to potential NFL quarterbacks. But nearly every story also notes that he has large hands.

            Not a big deal?

            Adam Schefter of ESPN points out that Manziel’s hands measure 9 7/8, while another top quarterback prospect, Teddy Bridgewater, has 9¼-inch hands.

            Why does that matter?

            With larger hands, a quarterback can control the ball better in poor weather conditions and can more easily contain the ball when he pulls back and runs, or pump-fakes.

            Big hands aren’t to be underrated. Karl Malone had large and very soft hands, which allowed him to easily handle entry passes and put up shots around the rim. They helped make him the NBA’s No. 2 all-time leading scorer.

            More interesting is that John Stockton had abnormally large hands and could thus throw 1-hand passes off the dribble with amazing accuracy. I once asked him to measure his hands against mine, which are fairly big. Stockton’s were far bigger. I then asked him to measure his hand with 7-foot-4 Mark Eaton’s. Stockton’s hands were as large or larger than Eaton’s.

            I noticed at the BYU game Thursday night that Stockton’s son David, a guard at Gonzaga, inherited the same big hands.

            While quickness, speed, leaping ability and other measurements are important, it’s easy to overlook something like hands – unless you’re an NFL or NBA scout. Things like that don’t slip by when millions of dollars are at stake.

            Besides, at very least, large hands are a plus when you’re waving and blowing kisses to the crowd.

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Brad Rock

Brad Rock writes a sports column for the Deseret News. Plus this blog thingy, which usually runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you're reading this, rather than his column, stop. Go back. Read his column, too at deseretnews.com/sports. You'll feel better about yourself.

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