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Jared Goff measures with 9-inch hands at NFL Combine

INDIANAPOLIS -- Cal quarterback Jared Goff measured with 9-inch hands at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, falling short in a category that is of higher importance for quarterbacks for NFL scouts.

Browns coach Hue Jackson, whose team is believed to be the first threat to take a quarterback off the board with the draft's No. 2 overall pick, emphasized the importance of big hands for QBs on Wednesday.

"It matters because we play in a division where all of a sudden there's rain, there's snow and it's different. I think guys that have big hands can grip the ball better in those environmental situations," Jackson said.

On the other hand, Cincinnati Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin seemed less concerned about a prospect's hand size.

"It's a little bit useless as a measurement," Tobin said. "When you shake a guy's hand, you know whether or not if they have a big hand or not."

Goff had an opportunity to chime in on the hand-size debate on Thursday and he defended his mitts from the scrutiny.

"I've been told I have pretty big hands my whole life," Goff said. "I heard I have small hands yesterday, apparently. Naw, I've never had a problem with that or expect it to be a problem at all."

Perhaps Goff should take a tip from Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen, whose small hand measurement at the Senior Bowl compelled him to increase his hand size through massage therapy.

North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, another of the draft's top QBs, measured with 10-inch hands on Thursday. The benchmark for adequacy when it comes to hand size for NFL quarterbacks, though different clubs have different opinions, is said to be in the 9-inch range. As such, Goff's hands won't necessarily be considered small or a liability; they'll just look small compared to those of Wentz.

And small, perhaps, for the AFC North. Starting AFC North quarterbacks Joe Flacco (9 5/8) and Andy Dalton (9 1/2) are both above the 9-inch mark; Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's hand size wasn't made public at the 2004 combine.

In one of the few games Goff struggled in his college career, he completed just 3 of 6 passes for 11 yards in a rainstorm in 2013 as a freshman against Oregon. Later that season, Goff was confronted with stiff winds in a road game at Colorado, and struggled in a 41-24 loss.

Another of the draft's signal-callers, Penn State's Christian Hackenberg, also measured with 9-inch hands.

Goff and Wentz are expected to be the first two quarterbacks chosen. In which order they're picked, however, is a matter of greater speculation. Hand size, of course, will be only one of many determining factors, but it's a category that Wentz won -- well, handily -- at the combine on Thursday.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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