Michael Penix Jr. Impresses During Senior Bowl Practices, Opts Out of Game

You won't see Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. playing in the Senior Bowl itself, but that should come as no surprise for one specific reason.

Though unsurprising to those initiated into the world of college football, a top-tier athlete sitting out of a marquee offseason contest may come as a shock. But Michael Penix Jr.’s decision not to play in the 2024 Senior Bowl game itself came after he impressed during the week-long set of practices and makes complete sense.

With Penix out, what’s next for the Washington quarterback, and what can evaluators learn from the quarterbacks playing in the Senior Bowl?

Why Is Michael Penix Jr. Not Playing in the Senior Bowl?

Penix Jr. was impressive enough during Day 3 of practices that he turned the heads of those watching and those in attendance in Mobile. He saw his draft stock soar following the third day of practice and could absolutely challenge for the first round of April’s 2024 NFL Draft.

With that kind of potential, there is very little reward for Penix playing in the simulated scrimmage-type game that is the Senior Bowl’s culminating event. There is far more peril in playing the game on Saturday than there would be the chance for him to improve on his already-soaring draft stock.

The risk vs. reward discussion was seemingly easy for Penix to decide upon as he’ll be sitting out of the game itself.

It was also reported that Oregon’s Bo Nix will also play only a handful of series, and Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman will handle the majority of the snaps.

What’s To Gain During the Senior Bowl?

The Senior Bowl is a chance for decision-makers to match up what was presented on film with in-person evaluations. For some, this can cement their status or even improve their draft stock a few positions.

This is done by evaluating the week of workouts, drills, and on-field qualities during the string of NFL-like practices in Mobile. Despite its social media buzz, the Senior Bowl game itself is of lesser importance than the three days of practice and off-field interviews with teams.

For quarterbacks, Penix has little to show during the game itself compared to what he’s shown throughout his career and this week in Mobile. Hartman, on the other hand, is still learning a pro-style system after years at Wake Forest and a singular season at Notre Dame.

KEEP READING: Top QBs in the 2024 NFL Draft

For those purposes, evaluators will be watching Hartman and how he can run a pro-style offense over the course of multiple quarters. In a way, Penix’s opt-out could prove incredibly helpful to Hartman’s NFL prospects.

Just as long as Hartman’s performance matches the film from his college career.

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