Analyst: NFL Draft prospect Michael Penix Jr. ‘best QB’ at Senior Bowl

Feb 8, 2024, 12:16 PM

Michael Penix Jr NFL Draft UW Huskies...

Michael Penix Jr. of the UW Huskies reacts prior to the 2024 CFP National Championship. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

By some accounts, UW Huskies quarterback and NFL Draft prospect Michael Penix Jr. did not showcase his full set of skills during last week’s Senior Bowl practices.

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The Ringer’s Danny Kelly described Penix and Oregon quarterback Bo Nix as “underwhelming,” while The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner wrote that Penix was “middling to subpar”  in practice.

NFL Network analyst Charles Davis, who was present for Senior Bowl week and was on the TV broadcast, joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy earlier this week and had a different take, offering up a mostly positive review of the Heisman Trophy runner-up during his week of practices in Mobile, Ala.

“He did all the right things to me,” Davis said of Penix. “He was the best quarterback for the entire week when you put together the body of work.”

That assessment seems especially impressive given Penix did not participate in the Senior Bowl game itself. Some speculated he has still not fully recovered from the numerous hits he took in UW’s loss to Michigan in the national title game – or the numerous dings he accrued during the Huskies’ 14-1 campaign.

Davis said he didn’t view Penix’s decision to sit out the Senior Bowl game as a big deal.

“He did everything else that you could possibly do,” Davis said. “Was it disappointing to not see him? Of course. But here’s the counter: Bo Nix did all the right things, went out and played. He’s gonna get praised for that. He played two series. You know what I mean? I’m not saying Bo was gaming the system. Let’s remember, he’s from Alabama, he was the headliner. He felt the responsibility that people came out to see him play.”

“These guys are having to be smart about what they’re doing,” Davis added. “I don’t think there’s anything sinister with what happened with Michael. I think he only gained points throughout the week.”

Where will Michael Penix Jr. land in NFL Draft?

Penix led the most potent downfield passing attack in the country this past season, throwing for 4,903 yards, 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Penix was unstoppable in UW’s 37-31 win over Texas in the CFP semifinal Sugar Bowl, going 29 of 38 for 430 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

There’s a wide range of opinions on where Penix will be drafted. Some have him tabbed as a first- or second-round pick. Others think he could fall because of durability concerns. Penix sustained four season-ending injuries during his tenure at Indiana before transferring to UW. He was stellar his final two seasons in Montlake but rarely got hit playing behind a dominant offensive line.

The good news for Penix: the southpaw’s arm stellar arm strength was on full display this past week, according to Davis.

“I thought Michael Penix’s arm in person was even more impressive than when you’re watching a game and you’re watching tape,” Davis said. “You’re like, my goodness.  There are times his feet don’t get adjusted but that ball still comes off of his hand live and gets to his target really well.”

Senior Bowl practices are designed to put college quarterbacks in uncomfortably positions. Afters spending years in offenses that rarely huddle or go under center, coaches force the prospects to work on traditional dropbacks and verbally relay plays to offenses in the huddle.

Davis acknowledged none of the quarterbacks truly stood out but acknowledged they improved as the week progressed.

“No one in particular – and I don’t mean that as a slam, OK? It sounds horrible, right? No one in particular. But they struggled in different ways,” he said. “Did they get better as they went on? I thought so. And obviously the headliners were Michael Penix and Bo Nix from right there in the great Northwest.”

You can hear the full Bump and Stacy conversation with NFL Network analyst Charles Davis in the podcast at this link or in either the video or audio players near the top of this post.

More on the NFL Draft

Senior Bowl’s Jim Nagy: How Penix did, what makes him so unique
Nagy shares what to know about NFL Draft, a Seahawks fit
Seahawks Draft: ESPN’s Miller on J.J. McCarthy’s upside, Penix’s stock
Which UW Huskies stand out to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah?
Bump: What makes UW’s Rome Odunze a top NFL Draft prospect

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