Purple & Gold Prospects: Michael Penix Jr. Scouting Report
Welcome to Purple & Gold Prospects!
This will be an ongoing series to get Vikings fans familiar with upcoming draft prospects. The focus of this series will be to cover prominent prospects entering the upcoming NFL Draft. The series will center on the position groups of highest need on the current Vikings roster, but will also cover stand out players across the spectrum. I hope you will join me on this continuing journey to learn more about upcoming draft classes.
With that let’s discover the possible future of your Minnesota Vikings!
Weight: 213 lbs.
Michael Penix Jr. was a 3-star recruit out of Tamp Bay Tech High School. He started for Tampa Bay Tech for two seasons and amassed 4,243 passing yard and an impressive 61 to 6 TD-INT ratio. This earned him several college offers and he eventually committed to the Indiana Hoosiers in 2018. He would enter the transfer portal in 2021 and head to the Washington Huskies where he would explode after an injury-ridden career at Indiana. In a season and a half at Washington he has accumulated 7,217 passing yards, a 51-13 TD-INT ratio, and a 67.1% completion percentage. Penix Jr. is currently the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy in 2023 and has been on the rise in NFL Draft boards.
Games watched: Michigan State 2022, Oregon 2022, Oregon State 2022, Texas 2022, UCLA 2022
Michael Penix Jr. displays good athleticism for the position. He is elusive in the backfield and buys time in extending plays with his legs waiting for receivers to get open. He keeps his eyes downfield waiting for routes to develop but is also a threat to pick up good yardage with his legs. His processing is fairly good and reads the field well, quickly going through progressions to find the open routes. He pivots his hips quickly to the play. Penix has good timing and accuracy with the ability to zip balls into tight windows. He can hit any level of the field with flashes of making deep sideline throws form the opposite side. Accuracy and placement can be outstanding on those deeper out and sideline routes. He has moments of great poise against oncoming defenders. Penix has a good ability to read defenses pre-snap and take advantage of mismatches with his receivers. He also has good ball trajectories with the ability to fit passes in and over defenders. Penix Jr. does a good job protecting the ball and the awareness of when to slide to avoid unnecessary contact.
His mechanics are inconsistent. His footwork is sloppy at times especially when under pressure and has a very awkward drop back that shows up on film too much. He doesn’t square himself fully to the pass and has to compensate using his arm to change angles to deliver the pass. Penix also needs to work on his release. His throwing motion can be a slower wind-up too often which affects the velocity and placement of his throws. Although his accuracy is pretty good, his ball placement is inconsistent. On timing routes the pass is often outside of the receiver’s frame causing them to adjust and not hitting them in stride. This mainly shows up on crossing routes over the middle. He also has to work on his anticipation and release the ball earlier while the receivers are breaking to avoid defenders from breaking on the ball. He has the best WR core in all of college football and they bail him out of many of these situations on a consistent basis. Penix doesn’t always read the field correctly and can miss defenders moving into throwing lanes. He also has some extremely ill-advised throws while under pressure. Penix has a long injury history having only played one full college season to date. He tore the same ACL twice as well as suffering an AC joint injury in his shoulder while at Indiana. This sidelined him for the majority of his games as a starter with the Hoosiers. Because of these unfortunate events, Penix has played 6 seasons of college football and will be 24 as a rookie coming out in the 2024 NFL Draft.
So far in 2023
Penix is off to a blistering start to the 2023 college season. Through seven games he has already amassed 2576 yards passing, a 20-5 TD-INT ratio, and an impressive 70.8% completion rate. He has led the Huskies to a 7-0 start and currently has them ranked as the 5th best team in college football. Penix has been steadily rising throughout the process with some analysts now having him as a first-round QB. However, his injury history will be heavily scrutinized among NFL teams and medical evaluations will be very important for his draft stock. I also believe he has a decent amount to work on with his mechanics, ball placement, and decision-making under pressure. His abilities might not translate early on in the NFL but he has the tools to work with as a day 2 developmental prospect.
Accuracy: 13.1 / 15
Decision Making/Mental Ability: 13.3 / 15
Mechanics: 11 / 15
Touch/Trajectory: 13 / 15
Arm Strength: 8.8 / 10
Athleticism: 8 / 10
Durability: 4 / 10
Pocket Presence: 6.9 / 10
OVERALL: 78.1 – Third Round