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NFL Draft Profile – QB Michael Penix Jr.

By Doug Orth | 4/3/24 |

Michael Penix Jr.


College: Washington
Height/Weight: 6’ 2"/216
Hands: 10 1/2"
Age: 24 (at the time of the 2024 season opener)

Important NFL Combine Numbers

40-Yard Dash: 4.51-4.57 range (pro day)
Vertical Jump: 36.5 (pro day)
Broad Jump: 10' 5" (pro day)
20-Yard Shuttle: N/A
3-Cone: N/A

College Production (Stats)

High-end NFL Player Comp(s): Jordan Love (2023)

Low-end NFL Player Comp(s): Geno Smith (2023)

Best Scheme Fit: He should fare well in just about any scheme. His quick decision-making makes him a great fit in an offense built around the short passing game, while long-range accuracy will play well in a passing attack that wants to incorporate a heavy dose of intermediate and deep throws.

Best Team Fit(s): Raiders, Broncos, Patriots, Vikings, Commanders, Giants

Non-bolded times - Good examples of attribute
Bolded times - Average/poor examples of attribute

Position-Specific Attributes and Grades
Attribute Att Grade Scale Examples
Accuracy 9.5 10.0

1:15, 1:38, 1:42, 3:05, 3:49, 5:17, 6:05, 6:06, 6:49, 16:37

2:26, 5:25, 10:06, 10:10, 11:31

Anticipation/Tight Window 9.5 10.0

2:34, 6:06, 6:25, 11:00, 11:56, 16:37

7:33, 8:51

Decision Making 8.5 10.0

0:09, 4:35, 7:06

0:19, 3:44, 3:52, 5:11, 7:33, 8:32, 8:51

Durability 7.5 10.0

9:19, 9:34

Improvisation/Throw On Run 7.5 10.0

2:07, 8:52, 10:29


Poise/Awareness 9.0 10.0

0:09, 1:13, 1:42, 2:34, 3:32, 4:35, 8:57

0:19, 2:08, 5:11, 7:33, 8:32, 10:06

Vision/Read Progression 9.0 10.0

0:09, 2:08, 3:32, 10:29

3:44, 8:51

Athleticism/Mobility 3.0 5.0

4:35, 7:29, 9:34, 14:12

Arm Strength 4.5 5.0

1:15, 3:13, 3:32, 3:49, 5:17, 6:06, 6:49


Film Grade 68.0 80.0

Pre-Draft Fantasy Prospect Grade* (out of 50): 37.0

* - How well does his skill set carry over to the fantasy game? For quarterbacks, a player needs to be a realistic threat for 4,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards to be a candidate for a perfect grade. Positional scarcity at the pro level is also a part of the equation.


  • Arguably the best deep-ball thrower in this draft class; a flick of his wrist seems to travel 50 yards.

  • Exceptionally accurate when he has time (posted a 73.5 percent completion rate and a 30:6 TD-to-INT ratio from a clean pocket).

  • Effective ball distributor who seems to have a great feel for where everyone is on the field and makes quick decisions; took only 31 sacks over 1,759 career drop-backs.

  • Very good eye discipline; looks off the safety as often as any prospect in this class and rarely gives the defense advance notice of where he is going on intermediate and long throws.

  • Routinely puts his receivers in position to gain yards after the catch with his precision passing.


  • Older prospect (turns 24 in May) with an extensive injury history.

  • Much less effective when he is forced out of the pocket - particularly when he moves to his right (he is left-handed).

  • The combination of a low release point and emphasis on quick throws led to a high number of deflected passes.

  • The tradeoff for his penchant for avoiding sacks is that he was almost entirely boom-or-bust when defenses were credited with a pressure on him. His high aDOT (15.5) on 141 "pressured" pass attempts last season was offset by a 41.8 percent completion rate, 20.7 percent off-target rate and 4.3 percent TD rate on those throws.

  • Injury history has discouraged him from running as often as his athleticism suggests he should.

Bottom Line

Before discussing Penix's long-term prospects, it is important to address the elephant in the room: his injury history. Every one of his four seasons at Indiana ended with an injury, including two ACL tears in his right knee and an AC joint separation in both of his shoulders. He was able to stay on the field at Washington, but one would have to think several teams' medical staff would be hesitant to sign off on him. Predicting injuries is a crapshoot at best, so let's assume for the sake of this exercise that Penix's worst days from a health perspective are behind him and evaluate him for what he was over two years with the Huskies.

Especially considering his willingness to throw quickly and the success he enjoyed throwing the ball down the field to his perimeter receivers, Penix could be an immediate NFL starter and a great fit for an offense that is willing to make play-action a big part of its game plan. It might be the way to go if his next team has any trepidation about his durability. The problem with such an approach is that he has been operating in the same shotgun spread offense for five-plus years. Asking a quarterback who has enjoyed so much recent success in a wide-open attack that allowed him to see the field almost 100 percent of the time for one that requires him to turn his back to the defense and limits the volume of his deep shots may hurt more than it helps. One of his best qualities is keeping the offense on schedule. He only took 11 sacks in 2023 and was sacked on a mere 1.4 percent of his pass plays last year. He also has no problem throwing the ball away and living for another down, which is usually one of the hallmarks of a mature signal-caller.

On the downside, Penix does not offer much in the way of a running threat anymore (injuries), nor is he someone who looks to create big plays with improvisation. His footwork betrays him at times and he generally looks uncomfortable when he has to throw on the run - especially against his body. Penix also benefited from having the same top three receivers available to him in both of his years at Washington - one of which will be a top-10 pick this month and two others who could go on Day 2 - and generated a ton of production from "trust throws" to them. The 2023 Heisman Trophy runner-up has the accuracy to get away with trust throws at the next level as well, however. There also has to be some concern that Michigan - which blitzed Penix and bumped his receivers as much as any opponent did - provided a glimpse of what could be his future against a Wolverines' defense that most closely resembles what he will see on Sundays. With that said, Penix is likely no worse than the third-best quarterback prospect in this draft if not for his injury history. A team willing to accept the potential injury headache and bet on the good injury luck he had with the Huskies should get a long-term NFL starter at a reasonable discount.

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Doug Orth has written for FFToday since 2006 and been featured in USA TODAY's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He is also a high-stakes player who often appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, such as Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive." Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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