Michael Penix Jr. has traveled a long and winding road to the 2024 NFL draft. Once written off as an injury-prone player with scant prospects at the next level, he has risen to the upper echelons of the draft board. Some analysts and dynasty managers love him, and some hate him. Certainly, his last two seasons at Washington have put him on the radar as a player to take notice of. In this article, we will examine his college career and highlight some of his greatest strengths and weaknesses. Without further ado, let us examine the signal caller for the Washington Huskies.
- School: Washington
- Year: Super Senior
- Position: Quarterback
- Hometown: Tampa Bay, Florida (Tampa Bay Technical)
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 212 lbs.
Penix began his college career at Indiana. He chose the Hoosiers over an assortment of schools, including Florida State, Tennessee, Florida Atlantic, and Arizona. He chose to leave his home state, where he played his High School ball at Tampa Bay Technical High School. Coming out, he was the No. 36 Pro-Style quarterback in the nation, according to 247sports.com
Penix spent four seasons in the Big10, toiling away for the Hoosiers. During those seasons, he dealt with multiple injuries. He ended each season on IR, which included torn ACLs in both knees.
Penix eventually transferred to the University of Washington. That turned out to be the best decision of his career as he blossomed under Kalen DeBoer in the Huskies system. Penix put up better numbers in each of his two years at Washington than his four years at Indiana combined. His career culminated in a Pac-12 title along with a college football playoff win and a National Championship appearance.
Despite coming up short against Michigan in the Championship game, Penix took home several awards on the year. The kid from Tampa was the Maxwell Award winner, First Team All-American, along with finishing second in the Heisman voting. To say that his career arc was a complete turnaround from his time at Indiana would be the understatement of the year.
Film Review Strengths
When you examine his film, several different traits immediately jump off the tape. Penix throws one of the prettiest balls in the nation. Few, if any, prospects in this class or any other have such a beautiful tight spiral on the ball.
Whenever he has time in the pocket, he can chew up defenders with lasers at every level. You can see some examples of his arm talent below.
Due to his multiple knee injuries, he will never be confused with Michael Vick. However, this does not mean that he cannot move.
Penix does possess the ability to move within the pocket to extend plays and allow his receivers to flash open, as you can see below.
Penix not only throws a beautiful deep ball, but he also throws with excellent touch. He was able to run check-with-me plays with his elite receivers to deliver back shoulder balls when the situation called for it.
Film Review Weaknesses
While Penix certainly has a lot to offer a team at the next level, he does have some areas of concern or areas to work on. Penix rarely, if ever, took snaps under center in college. This might not be the problem it used to be with NFL teams incorporating more and more of the college game than in the past.
He could also be rattled if moved off of his spot by defenders. When he faced pressure up the middle, he could sometimes panic and throw ill-advised and off-target passes. This area was on display in the National Championship game as Michigan beat him and consistently moved Penix off of his spot.
Penix is an interesting prospect, to say the least. Despite his early career shortcomings at Indiana, he has developed into one of the top quarterback prospects in the class. Despite being in a loaded group of signal callers, I fully anticipate Penix being drafted in the middle of the first round of the upcoming draft. I have him slotted in as my QB4 of the groups behind Caleb WIlliams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels. His precision passing and college experience will make him an attractive prospect for teams looking to add a franchise quarterback and not having a top five pick.
Penix should also be a first-round prospect in your upcoming Superflex drafts. He could easily provide some nice upside as an accurate pocket passer at the next level. Given that he will likely be going to a team in the middle of the draft, he should go to a team that isn’t as devoid of help as, say, the Panthers last year when they selected Bryce Young in the first round. Were he to land on the Vikings or the Raiders, he would immediately have weapons at his disposal and the ability to move their offense all over the field. Keep an eye on this talented prospect at the Senior Bowl and throughout the draft process. He is surely a player to take note of.
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