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Jim Nagy: How Penix did at Senior Bowl, what makes him so unique

Feb 6, 2024, 2:26 PM

UW Huskies Michael Penix Jr....

UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. passes against Utah on Nov. 11, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

A pair of Pac-12 standout quarterbacks were front and center at the annual Senior Bowl last week in UW’s Michael Penix Jr. and Oregon’s Bo Nix.

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Penix, the 2023 Heisman runner-up, and Nix, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, are two of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s NFL Draft, and former Seahawks scout Jim Nagy got a front row seat to their week as he’s executive director of the Senior Bowl.

“They got better every day, I’ll say that. It’s different down here,” Nagy said during a Tuesday interview with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

That was especially the case for Nix, who had never operated under center before last week, Nagy said.

The first day “is always an adjustment” for quarterbacks because they’re in new systems with new receivers. But he thought Penix and Nix were more accurate on the first day of practice than other quarterbacks who have been at the Senior Bowl.

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“There were more completions. Usually the first day, guys are just spraying it around and there’s not a lot of familiarity with their guys. But I do feel like there was more completions Day 1,” Nagy said. “They both got better. Penix didn’t play in the game, but Bo did and he put together a really nice drive on his second series and kind of threw across his body for a touchdown … I thought they both got better every day, and that’s really all the teams are looking for is to see what they can build off.”

Breaking down Michael Penix Jr.

Is there a good comparison for Penix and his game? Nagy says that’s hard to answer.

“It’s really hard. I heard some Tua (Tagovailoa) stuff out there, but I don’t know if that’s just the lefty thing,” Nagy said. “I think Mike’s pretty unique. And again, for scouts, for us, we don’t throw comps around very often. I mean, everything has to line up, right? From the body type, the skill set, the makeup of the player, because when you say that in a draft room, it really has to ring true for the GM and the head coach who you’re trying to paint the picture for … That’s a hard one. That’s a really hard one. I think Mike’s a pretty unique player, I really do. I mean, there’s not many guys like him.”

Why is it hard to find the right comparison? And besides being a lefty, why is Penix so unique?

“He’s more of a pocket guy. I’ve seen some of the comps to more mobile quarterbacks, I mean, that’s just not Mike’s game,” Nagy said. “Mike’s game isn’t moving around and making a ton happen. It’s from operating in the pocket, which he does a great job of. He’s a great deep-ball thrower, which we know.”

Penix’s pure arm talent especially makes him a unique prospect.

“I think what’s underrated is just being able to throw the ball deep and accurately doesn’t mean you have a really strong arm in terms of like zip on your throws. But he can rip it, too,” Nagy said. “I think we saw a couple (times) in the College Football Playoff where he can do that. I think he’s just unique. His motion’s unique, his ability to stretch the field vertically and accurately and then maybe not be as accurate underneath is what makes him different. He’s a unique player.”

Listen to Brock and Salk’s full conversation with the Senior Bowl’s Jim Nagy at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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Jim Nagy: How Penix did at Senior Bowl, what makes him so unique