As the New York Giants narrow down their plans regarding how they intend to address the quarterback position, one draft prospect that has been floated as a possibility is Washington's Michael Penix, Jr.
Penix, just months removed from a national championship appearance that saw him lose to Michigan and fellow prospect JJ McCarthy, is the oldest player in the draft class with arguably the most impressive stat sheet among the competition. In two seasons with the Huskies after transferring from Indiana, The Tampa, Florida native boasts consecutive 4,600+ yard campaigns marked by a 65.3% completion percentage, 67 total touchdowns, and 19 interceptions.
This past fall, Penix led Washington to an undefeated season atop the Pac-12 behind a stunning 363 completions for a career-high 4,903 yards, 36 touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions.
Roman Tomashoff, the host of the LockedOn Huskies podcast, detailed Penix as a quarterback borne to sling it since he arrived in Seattle and commanded the air raid-esque system in 2022.
“It was just his attacking downfield. You want to take a lot of shots,” Tomashoff told the LockedOn Giants podcast. “You want to utilize your playmakers to the best of your ability kind of roles. And if it's not there, check it down.”
Tomashoff also spoke glowingly about the difference in the weapons provided to Penix that have helped him elevate his game to the next level. In his last two seasons, the 23-year-old had arguably the best offensive line in the nation with bookend tackles that protected his blindside in both directions to earn the Joe Moore Award at the end of that year.
Washington’s receiving corps featured two elite wide receivers in Rome Odunze and Ja'Lynn Polk, both of whom Tomashoff projects will be selections by the end of the second round. Add that all up, and it’s given confidence to Penix not only to let it fly but to do so outside of the pocket and sometimes off-balance.
“Something that I noticed that he improved on from last season to this season is making throws from different arm angles, where that was something that in 2022, we didn't see much of that,” Tomashoff said. “And then over this past season, he matured a lot in that aspect where it's, He doesn't necessarily throw on the move very much.
“But he's really good at something that offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb was also good at coaching him on. If it's not there, don't force it. Just throw it away. A throwaway is fine. It's acceptable in our offense because we understand that we would rather throw it away and have another chance than, you know, make a tough throw, and it gets intercepted.”
Short of tweaking some of his passing mechanics and adding a rushing element into his arsenal at the professional level, Penix has most of the same intangibles that characterize fellow prospects in his class who could get selected atop the upcoming draft board. However, the one element that could affect his draft stock and send him plummeting into the late first or even second round is his lingering injury history.
Penix started his collegiate career in Indiana way behind the eight ball as he suffered two shoulder and ACL injuries, limiting his starting time with the Hoosiers and keeping him 2,000 passing yards in the first four seasons. He took his extra years of eligibility to Washington with a better offensive line and training regimen, but even recently, his health came into question after sustaining some hits in the national title game that affected his ribs and ability to throw down the stretch of that game.
Nevertheless, Penix’s overall health and physical sustainability have improved since he transferred schools, particularly due to the knowledge and regiment provided to him by a solid training staff at Washington. The next step is proving he has overcome the medical hurdle and can perform to his best at the combine, where Tomashoff believes Penix will still garner early first-round consideration.
“If he gets that okay at the combine, I think that there's no question he should be at least a top 15 pick,”Thomashoff said.
Be sure to check out the LockedOn Giants podcast featuring the entire interview with Roman Tomashoff to learn more about Michael Penix Jr., including where his best fit might be within different offensive schemes, his leadership abilities, and more.
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