Klatt: Why Seahawks should draft Michael Penix Jr. at No. 16

Apr 22, 2024, 12:19 PM | Updated: Apr 24, 2024, 10:48 am

Michael Penix UW Huskies Seattle Seahawks draft...

Michael Penix Jr. of the Washington Huskies throws a touchdown pass against Oregon State in 2023. (Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

(Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

Most prognosticators expect the Seattle Seahawks to select a quarterback at some point in this week’s NFL Draft.

Huard: Why UW QB Michael Penix Jr. should be in play for Seahawks

However, with starting quarterback Geno Smith returning for the 2024 season and more pressing needs throughout their roster, not many expect them to address the position with their No. 16 overall pick.

But if former UW Huskies star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is still available at No. 16, should the Seahawks draft the reigning Heisman Trophy runner-up?

FOX college football analyst Joel Klatt joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Monday and explained why the Seahawks should take Penix, who carved up opposing defenses from the pocket during his decorated two-year run as the Huskies’ quarterback.

Klatt said what Penix showed at UW is different from the other top quarterback draft prospects – USC’s Caleb Williams, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, North Carolina’s Drake May and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

“It is so rare in (college football) to come across a quarterback who is asked to do exactly what he would be asked to do in the NFL,” Klatt said. “Normally what we see is teams that have a far superior margin of talent, and those quarterbacks aren’t asked to sit there in the pocket and read full-field reads and attack down the field with leverage and accuracy and timing 15, 20, 25 times a game. We don’t see that. We don’t see it.

“What we see are guys with incredible skill sets like Caleb Williams and Drake May, and they create, or (they have) incredible teams around them like Jayden Daniels. … Or we see a J.J. McCarthy that has a philosophy and a structure around him that allows him to only have to throw full-field reads five or six times a game from the pocket. And here we’ve got Michael Penix, and this dude is asked to sit there and swing it, man. And he did it as well as anybody.”

After transferring to UW following four season-ending injuries at Indiana, Penix led the nation in passing yards per game each of the past two seasons and went 25-3 as a starter in the Huskies’ high-flying attack. The 23-year-old lefty threw for 4,903 yards, 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season while leading UW to the national championship game.

“I get it. He’s had some injuries in his past,” Klatt said. “But (it’s) the ability to attack a defense from the pocket – not just take what the defense gives, not just operate the offense. This dude attacks the defense down the field with leverage. He’s constantly passing the ball – not throwing it, but passing the ball – to give his wide receiver better odds than the defender.

“He doesn’t throw 50/50 balls. He throws 60/40 balls. He throws 65/35 passes. So in a lot of ways, these guys’ jobs become much easier because the ball is constantly on the offensive players’ side, even down the field. Whether he’s driving it, layering the ball, throwing the touch or throwing deep, he does a remarkable job of putting the ball in the exact spot that gives his wide receiver the best chance to make a play.”

Klatt said Penix’s downfield passing ability translates to a successful career in the NFL.

“If he goes to the right spot,” Klatt said, “I do believe Michael Penix can be a quarterback that leads a franchise to a potential Super Bowl.”

Listen to the full conversation with Joel Klatt from Monday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More on Seattle Seahawks, Michael Penix and the draft

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Why UW’s Troy Fautanu is the right fit for Seahawks
Rost: The Seahawks’ smart pick, fun pick and wild card at No. 16
Salk: The perfect fit for Seahawks in draft isn’t who you think
Huard reacts to Seattle Seahawks GM’s comments on drafting QB

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