Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is playing his way to an intriguing NFL quarterback option, and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has admittedly taken notice. During his November 28, 2022 Seattle Sports radio show “Brock and Salk,” Carroll noted that he believes Penix can become an NFL quarterback.
“Oh, I think he’s great,” Carroll remarked. “I saw him earlier this year. I was at the Arizona game [on October 15]. He’s balanced, he’s strong, he’s accurate. He has a good system. He has receivers who can also play for him. It’s really impressive. I think he’s doing a great job.
When asked if Penix had an “NFL arm,” Carroll revealed he believes the Huskies star will play on Sundays. This will likely have Seahawks fans wondering if Carroll and general manager John Schneider could try to keep Penix in Seattle.
“Oh, I don’t think there’s any doubt,” Carroll added. “He’ll challenge someone one day.”
Penix threw for 4,354 yards, 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 66% of his passes in 12 appearances during the 2022 regular season. The dynamic quarterback also added a career-high, four rushing touchdowns that proved a threat to his legs when needed.
Thanks to the revised NCAA rules, Penix is technically a junior despite having played in five seasons and is eligible to return to Washington for another season. If Penix’s rise-up draft boards continue, it could be difficult for the quarterback to sidestep the NFL in 2023. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler believes Penix has played his way to a mid-round pick.
“For Washington, fifth-year QB Michael Penix Jr. received very little attention over the summer, but he’s forcing scouts to reevaluate their initial thoughts,” Brugler wrote Nov. 23. “Although his mechanics aren’t Penix is a textbook, confident passer with the arm strength to fling the ball all over the field and challenge tight windows. His veteran awareness is another key strength of his game, as he can spot vulnerable pre-snap matchups and understand where the pressure is coming from. He needs to keep improving his decision making and placement, but he’s been impressive this year and put his name to the middle of the round.”
Early indications are that the Seahawks would like to re-sign Geno Smith to a long-term contract, but the team’s recent slip-up could put that plan in question depending on how the season ends. In the first 12 weeks, the Seahawks would have the Broncos’ #4 pick in the Russell-Wilson trade as well as their own #16 pick in the 2023 NFL draft. This would potentially lead them to land a top quarterback prospect like Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s CJ Stroud.
Smith’s game gives the Seahawks the flexibility to target other positions with their first two picks, such as B. Adding an elite pass rusher. In that scenario, Seattle could still use one of its three Day Two picks to draft a quarterback like Penix to develop behind Smith. Seattle Sports’ Mike Salk thinks Penix could be drafted sooner than many projects.
“I’ve been watching him throughout the season. He’s a pro,” Salk said on November 28. “I think he’s going to be a good professional. I would definitely call him up if my team needed a quarterback. I would feel very comfortable drawing him,” he said. “Probably not in the first five or 10 picks or the first round – the injury worries are probably going to come up, right? I mean isn’t the second round where you generally get first round talents with concerns, question marks etc.?
“He looks like an early second-rounder to me. Probably not a first-round guy, but if someone falls for him and needs a quarterback, I wouldn’t be shocked… I don’t think he’s a third-round or fourth-round pick. I think he’s a second-round pick for a team that says, “Yeah, I’m going to take a chance and give up a second-round pick and see if I can develop it.” … Why don’t you want him in the second round?”
Why isn’t Penix mentioned among top quarterback prospects? Penix’s injury history could help the quarterback become available later than some of the other top signal callers. Before joining Washington, Penix had suffered multiple season-ending injuries in Indiana, including two cruciate ligament tears.
Carroll has been candid in his assessment of Penix, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the quarterback is on the Seahawks’ radar. All of this makes 2023 one of the most interesting Seahawks drafts in recent memory, and could become even more intriguing as Penix turns pro.