Michael Penix Jr. Further Proves He “Ain’t No Bum” With Speedy 40-Yard Dash & Strong Pro Day Throwing Session

Penix Jr.

Michael Penix Jr. might deserve a little more respect as a top-flight quarterback prospect entering the 2024 NFL Draft. The emerging consensus is that the Washington Huskies star is QB6 behind Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, JJ McCarthy and even Bo Nix. Not that a pro day is going to do much to change the overall evaluation of Penix, but for someone with his injury history (two torn ACLs) and overall concerns about mobility, it certainly helps to see him go through basic athletic testing.

Given his medical red flags —all of which checked out fine at the Combine — the fact that Penix can still run a sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash by some scouts’ watches blew a lot of folks away on Thursday. His jumps also beat back the “lacking athleticism” narrative.

We’re talking about a guy who is at least in the conversation with Williams as the best pure pocket passer in the ’24 class, and is pushing the presumed No. 1 overall pick for the best straight-line speed other than Daniels.

Asked why he wanted to open up the wheels at the Huskies’ pro day, Penix echoed something he posted to his X account less than 24 hours prior.

Then, Penix went out and flexed that Big Penix Energy for the throwing session that everyone knew he’d excel at. Here’s a mere sample of some of the lasers he slung around the yard.

Mind you, he didn’t have to throw since he already lit it up at the Combine. Still chose to compete all the same. How about we check out a couple of Penix’s actual, on-tape throws for a refresher, shall we?

…So why, exactly, is Penix the consensus QB6? Is it really just the injuries? Maybe his mechanics go a little sideways when he’s knocked off his spot. OK, but I’ve seen him break the pocket plenty enough and deliver the ball accurately downfield far more often than he’s off-target. If he’s such an immobile statue in the pocket, too, how is it that Penix managed to average 10.7 air yards per pass attempt with only a 7.6% pressure to sack rate? Because he’s a damn good, nimble athlete, that’s how!

I think we easily fall in love nowadays with the guys who can extend plays and make highlight-reel throws. Everyone wants the next Patrick Mahomes. There is only one Patrick Mahomes.

Penix can do some of that playmaking out of structure. Is he in the same class as Williams and Daniels in that regard? Not particularly. But what does the NFL come down to in the end? Winning from the pocket. I’m as confident in Penix as anyone from this class that he can stand in there and deliver with the best of them. His performance against Texas in the College Football Playoff semifinal is one of the most impressive displays of passing I’ve ever seen at the collegiate level.

Daniels’ upside as a runner and some evidence of anticipation throws has him as my QB2 behind Williams, yet Penix, to me, is a solid QB3 in the ’24 rookie class ahead of McCarthy, Maye and Nix respectively. McCarthy doesn’t do a good enough job of varying his speeds on a consistent basis. Damn near everything he throws is a missile. Maye is a mechanical mess with pocket presence that isn’t in the same galaxy as that of Penix’s. As for Nix, I like his skill set, but his average depth of target was only 6.8 yards this past season. What are you supposed to do with that, especially since his physical tool box isn’t as tantalizing (at least to me) as McCarthy or Maye?

All told, bet against Michael Penix Jr. as a successful starting QB in the NFL at your own risk. His pro day was just another emphatic point proven.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock