Michael Penix Jr.’s Draft Profile | Washington, QB Scouting Report

With his 2024 NFL Draft scouting report, can Washington QB and Heisman finalist Michael Penix Jr. be a Round 1 pick and a franchise QB at the NFL level?

After a 2023 campaign that landed him national acclaim, where does Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. rank in the 2024 NFL Draft with his scouting report? Does he have a legitimate claim to Round 1 capital, and what obstacles might he face on that climb?

Michael Penix Jr. Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 213
  • Position: Quarterback
  • School: Washington
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior

Two and a half years ago, Penix was coming off a 2021 campaign at Indiana in which he completed just 53.7% of his passes for four touchdowns and seven interceptions before an AC joint separation ended his season.

It’s incredible how quickly things have changed since then.

Penix flashed promise in small samples with the Hoosiers — his game-winning pylon reach against Penn State in 2020 was a moment of legend — but it would take a change of scenery and a clean bill of health for Penix to truly show the world what he could do.

Two years after Penix first transferred to Washington and joined up with head coach Kalen DeBoer and wide receivers Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk, and Jalen McMillan, we can now confidently say Penix has shown his true potential.

In 2022, Penix completed 362 of 554 attempts for 4,641 yards, 31 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. In 2023, he completed 363 of 555 attempts for 4,903 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, earned a place as a Heisman finalist, and led the Huskies to a national championship game appearance.

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Penix’s production at Washington was simply unheard of, and it was a reflection of qualities that were always there but needed the proper insulation to bloom.

The Huskies’ passer has done just that, and now, he’s on the doorstep of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Michael Penix Jr. Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Rocket-armed left-handed thrower with elite drive velocity and high-end arm elasticity.
  • Has the angle freedom and whip-like motion to release instantly off his trigger.
  • Good functional athlete with speed in the open field and steely competitive toughness.
  • Shows glimpses of competence as an off-platform passer and can operate on rollouts.
  • High-IQ passer who gathers information pre-snap and processes the field without delay.
  • Has the field vision to progress quickly and pick out tight intermediate windows.
  • Brings consistent areal accuracy, which he uses to routinely give his WRs a chance.
  • Laser-like drive velocity can push throws past tight coverage, where only WRs can reach.
  • Has improved at using controlled shoulder tilts to put touch and loft on deep passes.
  • Flashes superb pocket navigation, feel, and improvisational instincts versus pressure.
  • Able to use micromovements in the pocket to sidestep pressure and give himself time.
  • Can multitask, managing pocket space while continuing to progress and scan the field.
  • Gunslinger with fearless risk propensity and opportunism baked into decision-making.
  • Despite his fearlessness, still very measured with his discretion as a decision-maker.
  • Proven asset fighting adversity and elevating his team in high-pressure moments.

Weaknesses

  • Doesn’t have high-end creation capacity, and hip stiffness visibly limits malleability.
  • Is more volatile in off-script situations that exacerbate mechanical and mental flaws.
  • Can be too aggressive hunting big plays in the deep third, overlooking shallower reads.
  • Despite starting experience, still has room to improve mechanics and sequencing.
  • Still fairly upper-body dominant as a thrower, as hip stiffness sometimes limits torque.
  • Footwork at the top of his drop can be a bit frenetic at times, impacting hip alignment.
  • Sometimes fails to tighten his off-hand on rotation, which leads to placement volatility.
  • Release occasionally winds too much, tugging his rotation and sapping at velocity drive.
  • While areal accuracy is great, situational precision can fluctuate in pressure situations.
  • Will sometimes attempt to force throws with arm arrogance when plays start to erode.
  • Extensive injury history with torn ACLs in 2018 and 2020 and shoulder joint issues.
  • Will be a 24-year-old rookie in his first NFL season.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Off of film, Penix Jr. grades out as a late first-round or early Day 2 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft and a potential top-five QB prospect.

Drake Maye, Caleb Williams, and Jayden Daniels make up the top three, and J.J. McCarthy and Bo Nix are heavy contenders for the next two spots. That said, Penix has the tools and the high operational floor to generate interest as a franchise QB candidate if his medicals check out.

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Medicals have always been, and will continue to be, the biggest wild card for Penix and his 2024 NFL Draft projection. Penix tore his ACL in 2018 and 2020 and also suffered separate shoulder joint injuries in 2019 and 2021, one of which was in his throwing shoulder.

Medical evaluations at the NFL Combine, conducted independently by each NFL team, will help determine the prognosis surrounding Penix’s projected durability and longevity. But all it takes is one team to clear him, and he can go in Round 1, where his grade deems he is worthy of consideration.

More simply put, if Penix’s medicals are not an issue, there is little stopping him from being a Round 1 pick, and with more development, he could go on to be a successful NFL starter.

On the field, there is much to like about Penix’s game. He’s a fearless gunslinger with elite drive velocity and arm talent, which he uses to consistently fit passes into tight windows — windows he’s able to pick out with his patience, field vision, and processing ability.

Take away the big-play generation and risk propensity, and you’re still left with a quality distributor. Penix’s situational precision can improve at times, but he’s generally an accurate passer with great pocket management, discretion, and opportunity identification. And when he needs to put the team on his back, he can with his competitive toughness.

At his peak, and if he’s able to stay healthy, Penix could be a Matthew Stafford-type of passer at the NFL level. He’s a quality pocket operator with functional mobility who can carve defenses at all levels with his velocity, angle freedom, surgical vision, and predatory passing instincts, and he’s a competitor his teammates can rally around.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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