Difference in Perception Essence sizes

I’m considering a perception essence since it’s one of the nicest sea kayaks I have found sub $1300. I’m coming from mostly sit on tops. I sat in a 16.5 and it seemed a little tight for me, though I adjusted the thigh braces and it felt cozy and felt as it would be easy to control and roll.

My question is (hopefully for Flatpick, since he partially designed it) How much more roomier height wise is the cockpit on the 17’? I felt ok in the 16.5 lengthwise but feel like I could use a little more room to bend my knees. Is the 17’ any deeper from a cockpit perspective? I had to have the thigh braces on the last hole and the second hole to make them wide enough for me to sit in it. Length wise it was great, there was a ton of foot length. I am 5’10 and about 220.

It may not be vertical height you need.
My kayaks are set up with my knees splayed out under the thigh braces. When splayed rather than more vertical and bent, the legs support your torso better, whether twisting, or moving forward or back.

To get better knee splay, it may actually be necessary to pad the thigh braces to push the thighs down a bit.

I’m 6’ 5" so bow room is a consideration, but in any given kayak, if I can shoot my legs under the bow and under the thigh braces, I’m in. After that, it’s just a matter of outfitting with foam. For some ww kayaks, where there is a front wall in the way, I have had to cut back the thigh braces, but once I’m in the boat, there’s still enough thigh brace to properly grasp my legs, including for rolling.

Thats pretty much what I did
I was able to adjust the thigh pads and get my legs splayed and had a snug fit, it just kind of seemed like my legs were a little flat and I would prefer more of a bend in my knee for long distance comfort. The depth of the cockpit on the 16.5 didn’t quite seem deep enough for me to do that, so that’s why I was curious if the 17’ was any deeper.