As he continues to dice up college football defenses on a weekly basis, Michael Penix Jr. is becoming a regular feature on the 2024 NFL mock draft scene. Once an injury-impacted NFL afterthought, his relentless march toward Heisman consideration could well see him become a first-round selection next April.
Michael Penix Jr. Mock Draft: Washington QB a First Rounder Selection in Latest PFN Mock Draft
Penix Jr. could have declared for the 2023 NFL Draft. In fact, many analysts expected that he would.
After surprising everyone with a return to the Washington Huskies for the 2023 college football season, the veteran quarterback has set about elevating his next-level stock with consistently high-level performances.
What is the NFL Draft ceiling for the Huskies passer?
In the latest Pro Football Network mock draft, Penix is a late first-round selection. PFN analyst Owain Jones links the Washington quarterback with a team that’s no stranger to recent quarterback picks: the San Francisco 49ers.
“With Trey Lance now a Cowboy, the 49ers’ quarterback room doesn’t stoke confidence in a team that thinks they are ready to win a Super Bowl,” Jones says of a potential pairing between Penix and the 49ers that would keep the Washington QB on the west coast. “Michael Penix Jr. would come in and instantly elevate the room and provide instant competition.”
“Penix is a powerful thrower who is methodical and intelligent,” Jones explains Penix’s allure as a prospect.
“He navigates the pocket really well and has plenty of experience in manipulating safeties and making great decisions. With 450 yards and five touchdowns in the 2023 season opener for Washington, if Penix’s medicals come back fine, he should be in the Round 1 discussion.”
Since the mock draft was published, Penix added 409 passing yards and three touchdowns to his 2023 college football résumé in a commanding win over Tulsa. While his NFL Draft prospects have never looked better as he garners first-round consideration, the Washington quarterback’s college career trajectory is at the highest point it’s ever been.
Penix a Genuine Heisman Contender for Washington
A former three-star prospect and the 36th-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class out of Tampa Bay Tech, Penix’s rise to Heisman contention and first-round NFL Draft consideration is the work of a fairytale. It is a compelling tome about being written off and the quest for redemption, rejuvenation, and rewriting your own story in pursuit of glory.
Committing to Indiana, his time with the Hoosiers was disrupted by injury and the 2020 college football campaign. Amongst the concerns over his ability to remain healthy and play a full season, it somehow got lost that he was leading the Big Ten in almost every statistical category imaginable for a QB before being sidelined by an injury that threatened to derail his career.
Since arriving in Washington ahead of the 2022 season, Penix has made people remember the game-changing impact his play at the quarterback position can have. Winning the starting job for the Huskies against strong competition, he took the Huskies’ offense to new heights, setting program records for single-season passing yards, total offense, both per game and per play.
Penix finished eighth in Heisman voting in 2022, and after an emphatic start to the season, he’s currently joint second favorite by DraftKings Sportsbook to win college football’s most significant individual accolade.
As he continues to carve up defenses week in and week out, he has the potential to carry the Huskies back to the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2016. In doing so, he should also figure prominently at the forefront of the minds of Heisman Trophy voters who routinely sleep on Pac-12 contenders — until USC QB Caleb Williams took the nation by storm in 2022.
The Heisman remit requires winners to not only be the most outstanding player in college football, but that the winner epitomize excellence combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. That’s Penix in a sentence.
The Huskies QB has battled injury and attitudes to win with style and class, culminating in an impactful college career and NFL potential.