Atlanta Falcons surprise, pick Washington QB Michael Penix Jr in Round 1 of 2024 NFL draft

Atlanta Falcons surprise, pick Washington QB Michael Penix Jr in Round 1 of 2024 NFL draft


The Atlanta Falcons drafted Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Penix, who started his career at Indiana, led the Huskies to the 2023 national championship game, where they fell to Michigan, after persevering through multiple season-ending injuries. Here’s what to know about Penix.

Michael Penix Jr. scouting report

Ripping deep passes from the pocket comes easily to Penix, whose attacking mindset helped the Heisman Trophy runner-up lead Washington to the College Football Playoff national championship game. Yet things can get dicey when he’s forced off his spot or tries to operate over the middle, with his ball placement occasionally veering toward wildly erratic. A quarterback who will turn 24 in May and has already suffered four season-ending injuries – two torn anterior cruciate ligaments and two shoulder ailments – won’t be the right fit for every team. With the right supporting cast and scheme, however, Penix could be an intriguing option behind center. — Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Michael Penix Jr. height, weight

Penix, who is from Tampa and went to Tampa Bay Tech High School, is 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds.

Michael Penix Jr. college stats

In two seasons with Washington, Penix threw for 9,544 yards, 67 touchdowns and 19 interceptions while completing 65% of his passes. In four injury-riddled seasons at Indiana, Penix threw for 4,197 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 picks.

Michael Penix Jr. highlights

In 2023, Penix finished second in Heisman voting and led college football in passing yards and passing yards per game for the second straight season.

Michael Penix Jr. injury history

Penix tore his ACL three games into his true freshman season in 2018 with Indiana, with the injury coming as he was splitting time with starter Peyton Ramsey in a close loss to Penn State. He injured his non-throwing shoulder nine games into the 2019 season, with Indiana sitting at 7-2, matching the Hoosiers’ highest win total since 2007. 

He put himself on the map during the COVID-19 season, tossing 14 touchdowns through five games before suffering another ACL tear in a win against Maryland. And he suffered another shoulder injury five games into the 2021 season, which saw Penix and Indiana struggle through a winless finish in Big Ten play. 

“Yeah, man, those times were tough, but it just showed that I can get through anything. I can persevere and push through any hardship that comes my way,” said Penix. “But I’m just super blessed to be in this position now. I wouldn’t change anything I’ve been through for anything. I feel like it’s shaped me into the player and the person that I am today.” — Paul Myerberg 

Michael Penix Jr. NFL combine/pro day results

Penix did not run the 40 at the NFL combine, but did run it at his pro day, clocking an unofficial sub-4.6 time. At the combine, he clocked a 36.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot, 5-inch broad jump.

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