Michael Penix Jr. impresses at Senior Bowl; NFL Draft analysts remain split
NFL personnel are in Mobile, Alabama this week for the Senior Bowl, where former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is looking to put any concerns about his injury history to bed with his play.
Daniel Jeremiah, a draft expert for NFL.com, wrote that Penix “exceeded expectations” with his performance in practices during the week, but added that medical evaluations are going to play a key role in determining how soon Penix hears his name called when the draft opens in April.
To that end, ESPN’s Matt Miller joined the College GameDay Podcast this week to talk about how many quarterbacks could be selected in the first round of this year’s draft.
We could see three fly off the board in the first 10 picks. Miller believes Michigan’s JJ McCarthy is also a top-15 pick. Oregon’s Bo Nix is in the mix as well. Can Penix make it six?
“I think there are six quarterbacks who could be drafted in the top 50,” Miller said. “Washington’s Michael Penix, who had a really good first day of Senior Bowl practices, is kind of that guy who is on the fringe.
“The four years of injuries at Indiana are really tough to overlook. And I would also say, a lot like last year when I came on your guys’ podcast and we talked about CJ Stroud and that great performance against Georgia and it left this lasting impression with NFL scouts and general managers, Michael Penix kind of has the opposite problem. The lasting impression was the worst game of his two-year career at Washington.”
It’s true that Washington’s offense looked as bad as it had all year in the College Football Playoff National Championship against Michigan. Penix was picked off twice and held to 255 yards on a 53% completion rate.
“That last impression was all the question marks you had about his tape were really verified by that game,” Miller said.
Penix was outstanding the week prior in the Sugar Bowl win over Texas, but he will no doubt be judged by the national title game, when UW never really threatened the Wolverines.
And though it was never a concern during his two seasons at Washington, injuries were a major piece of Penix’s story throughout his college career. That will be a pervasive storyline during the Scouting Combine.
To his credit, though, Penix is doing plenty of talking on the field.
After Senior Bowl practices concluded on Friday, Penix was named the top quarterback on the National team in a vote from defensive teammates. Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman and Oregon’s Bo Nix were the other National team quarterbacks.
Washington's Michael Penix (@themikepenix) was named top QB on the National team in a vote from defensive teammates at practice player-of-the-week awards ceremony today at 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl. #TheDraftStartsInMobile pic.twitter.com/iMGG2YgObl
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 2, 2024