The Daily Jay – April 24, 2024

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The big question: Is Michael Penix a first-round pick?

By Charles Jay
April 24, 2024

Has there been more argument about anybody in this NFL Draft than there has about Michael Penix Jr., the quarterback from the Washington Huskies (by way of the Indiana Hoosiers) who has had to deal with injury objections on the way to be a candidate for the first round?

In case you’re not familiar, Penix is the guy who spent six years in the college ranks, and suffered a season-ending injury in four of them. Face it – when you tear your ACL twice, you’re going to be a concern for a lot of teams. In fact, there are some teams in the NFL who will take a guy like that completely off the board.

But the fact is, the guy is talented, and whenever he has been healthy enough to play, he has produced big. Last year, he threw for over 4900 yards, was the runner-up to Jayden Daniels in the Heisman Trophy voting, and led his team to the national championship game. He can throw the ball down the field, which impresses teams that are looking to do something more than “dink and dunk” with their offense.

Penix did a little campaigning for himself, as he wrote an open letter to general managers across the league.

Will some team take a chance with Penix in the first round? Here are the odds we were working with at WagerWAR:

Under 32.5 Position -250
Over 32.5 Position +170

What this comes down to is whether one of these teams is going to be desperate enough for a quarterback, because that makes things move. We are going to talk about that in a minute.

It is safe to say that, barring any trades, you’re not likely to see activity on Penix toward the end of the first round, because this is the order (with the team’s starting quarterback in parentheses):

24 Dallas (Dak Prescott)
25 Green Bay (Jordan Love)
26 Tampa Bay (Baker Mayfield)
27 Arizona – from Houston (Kyler Murray)
28 Buffalo (Josh Allen)
29 Detroit (Jared Goff)
30 Baltimore (Lamar Jackson)
31 San Francisco (Brock Purdy)
32 Kansas City (Patrick Mahomes)

As we go further up in the order (that is, earlier), we don’t see a lot more with regard to teams that might be in the market for a quarterback. Seattle has Geno Smith, but he may not be with them beyond 2024. Sam Howell, who led the NFL in pass attempts and interceptions last year, is the newly-acquired backup with some upside. Jacksonville, Cincinnati and the Rams won’t be looking. Pittsburgh has Russell Wilson now, with Justin Fields in reserve. Miami has another lefty in Tua Tagavailoa. Philly has Jalen Hurts. Minnesota has an earlier pick (which we’ll address), and may wait to pick a QB.

16 Seattle
17 Jacksonville
18 Cincinnati
19 LA Rams
20 Pittsburgh
21 Miami
22 Philadelphia
23 Minnesota – from Cleveland

Here is the stretch where teams will be contemplating a quarterback. The Vikings can’t expect to be taken seriously going into the 2024 season with Sam Darnold at QB. Denver just added Zach Wilson to a quarterback room that also has Jarrett Stidham. That’s not a winner. And Las Vegas may stick with Aidan O’Connell or hand it to Gardner Minshew.

11 Minnesota
12 Denver
13 Las Vegas
14 New Orleans
15 Indianapolis

It was thought that McCarthy might be available to one of these teams. But whatever recent developments have caused the former Michigan quarterback to shoot up the draft boards might make him out of reach. And you may not think there is a team that would take Penix this high.

But when there are teams that really need quarterbacks, and haven’t made any secret of it, there is going to be some movement. Penix has had some good workouts. Among the Vikings, Broncos or Raiders, is there a team that would overlook the injury concerns and put him in the hands of the training staff (if need be)?

And remember, if those teams really have a quarterback as their top priority, one or two are going to miss out on the guy they may have had highest on the board for that spot in the first round. So they may figure they have to pull the trigger and do whatever they have to.

This would be a risk for the team that drafts him, but it’s also a vote for production. So we’re going with the UNDER, expecting Penix to be a first-round pick.

Author: channeljay
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