REPORT: QB-Needy AFC Team Is Now Expected To Reach For Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. With Their First-Round Pick

Michael Penix Jr. throwing football.
Michael Penix Jr. throwing football (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

A quarterback-needy team in the AFC is reportedly eyeing polarizing Washington Huskies star Michael Penix Jr. with their first-round pick.

Though many scouts and analysts don’t have a first-round grade on Michael Penix, he could very well be a top-20 pick given the lengthy list of teams that need a long-term starting quarterback option.

According to ESPN’s Matt Miller, the Las Vegas Raiders “really” like Penix. The NFL draft analyst added that the Raiders “could select” the lefty with the No. 13 pick:

“Las Vegas Raiders. One constant I keep hearing from people I trust is that the Raiders really do like Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and could select him at No. 13 overall. That would qualify as a surprise, despite the fact that Penix is a beautiful thrower from the pocket and has the best overall arm strength in this class.

His medical history — four straight season-ending injuries while at Indiana — and his lack of mobility are concerns enough that he is ranked No. 40 on my board and is generally seen as a Day 2 prospect, but the buzz here is starting to heat up connecting the Raiders to him in Round 1. Las Vegas signed Gardner Minshew, but this team was 26th in QBR last season (40.1) and needs a long-term solution.”

The Raiders signed veteran Gardner Minshew II to a two-year deal, providing competition for second-year signal-caller Aidan O’Connell. Minshew is a high-end backup, and O’Connell had an uneven rookie year in Sin City.

So it makes sense for Raiders GM Tom Telesco and head coach Antonio Pierce to take a quarterback like Penix if they’re high on him. He’s the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect, but guys like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson have proven that the biggest gambles often pay off tremendously.

In his final season of college football, Michael Penix Jr. threw for 4,903 yards and 36 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. He led Washington to a national championship game appearance, where they fell to Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines.

One concern about the 23-year-old Penix is his injury history. He suffered season-ending injuries in each of his four years at Indiana before transferring to Washington, including two ACL tears.

Raiders Would Be A Good Landing Spot For Michael Penix Jr.

Penix Jr. probably won’t start in Week 1, but the Raiders have two solid bridge options in O’Connell and Minshew who can compete for the QB1 job next season.

The Raiders can take their time developing Penix Jr. before he eventually takes over the offense. Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and Michael Mayer headline a nice set of offensive playmakers who could help Penix Jr. fulfill his potential at the NFL level.

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