It’s becoming more and more clear with each day why the draft stock of Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. seems to be a moving target ahead of the 2024 player-selection process that opens on April 25. 

For a piece published on Thursday, Ben Standig of The Athletic revealed that at least one unnamed assistant coach believes Penix is “better now…for NFL football” than both North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy of the Michigan Wolverines. LSU Tigers signal-caller Jayden Daniels has been repeatedly linked with a Washington Commanders side that holds the draft’s second pick and it’s believed the New England Patriots will spend the third choice to grab either Maye or McCarthy if Washington takes Daniels. 

The Chicago Bears are expected to make USC Trojans star Caleb Williams the draft’s first overall pick. 

“[Penix] can read (defenses), throw accurately, is quick and has a strong enough arm,” the coach said of the Washington signal-caller. “He’s more of a sure thing to play in the NFL, but I’m not sure where he goes from here because he doesn’t have the same upside.” 

One offensive coach from an AFC team recently called Penix his “No. 2 guy” among quarterback prospects in this class and NFL insider Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated shared in that same piece that “it’s pretty apparent to me that coaches are higher on Penix than scouts.” That second part is interesting considering a scout told Standig that Bo Nix of the Oregon Ducks is “much better than Penix” heading into the draft.

At best, analysts have Nix rated fifth among quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. 

“Penix is serviceable and a different player when he’s playing on schedule,” the scout added. “But he’s not a good foot athlete, and I worry about him when he gets traffic in his face.” 

Also on Thursday, analyst Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic called Penix “a third-round prospect – closer to the back end of the top 100 than the middle.” Some evaluators think Penix could be either a top-20 selection or that a team could move up into the final choices of the first round to ensure a fifth-year option is attached to his rookie contract. 

“It’s hard to bet against him, as he’s obviously overcome a ton already,” Baumgarder noted about Penix, “but he’s about to be 24 years old, has been hurt multiple times and is not a consistently accurate passer.”

Specifically on the health front, Penix tore his right anterior cruciate ligament twice and suffered injuries to both shoulders in college. Assuming Baumgardner is correct, the New York Giants may be able to wait until the second round before they take a flier on Penix via overall pick No. 47. The Giants also own the 70th selection. 


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