Could Michael Penix Jr.’s Combine precision catch Broncos eyes?

Mar 2, 2024, 7:08 PM

INDIANAPOLIS — Michael Penix Jr. got stronger as the early evening progressed and the repetitions accumulated Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. And in terms of pass quality relative to difficulty — such as it is without defenders — his best work came in the last period before the end of the workout session, when he was throwing deep outs to the right flank.

His receiver was Ja’Lynn Polk, one of the standout pass-catchers with whom he flourished at the University of Washington. And Michael Penix Jr. delivered a gorgeous throw — a well-placed deep ball with just enough arc for Polk to adjust, but not enough for it to hang harmfully.

Penix followed that with another lovely deep ball that just missed off the fingertips of USC’s Brenden Rice. Another deep ball a few moments later was just a bit too far.

But that followed a pair of outstanding deep passes — one of which also missed off the fingertips of Utah’s DeVaughn Vele.

There is something to note here: First, this is where timing and anticipation come into play, both of which are difficult to find when you’ve just met the receivers to whom you’ll be throwing. Second, the pass that was completed of those deep shots was to Polk, the receiver that knows Penix best.

It was easy to picture what Penix’s deep shots would look like when and his receivers build chemistry, because there was a glimpse.

Now, Michael Penix Jr. was a machine for most of the session, hitting his receivers on time and in-stride. Miscues were few.

But it was the deep passes that showed the possibilities his arm possesses.

None of this settles the concern some have about Penix’s work under heavy pressure, of course. Those sentiments won’t be going away, in all likelihood; there’s no pressure — at least not of the pass-rushing ilk — in a workout.

But after being tested in a Broncos interview earlier this week, Penix aced the exam Saturday — for what it’s worth.


Michael Pratt, Tulane: Pratt displayed good accuracy on short and intermediate inside passes, but struggled when attempting to push the ball outside the numbers. This left him as the third-best quarterback in the workout.

Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma: He had a strong overall day, although he didn’t have the consistent precision of Penix. He had some nice velocity on a deep out to the left side — and overall, looked at least as proficient going to his left as his right. Rattler did nothing to derail his momentum from Senior Bowl week and looks to be a Day 2 pick.

Austin Reed, Western Kentucky: When he got away from slants and routes in the middle of the field, everything seemed labored and difficult for Reed, who strained to complete passes outside of the numbers.

Kedon Slovis, Brigham Young: In a similar manner to Devin Leary during the early session, Slovis helped his stock a bit after a disappointing week at the Shrine Bowl. But after delivering some top-shelf work on deep go routes, he did not close strongly, missing wide and out of bounds on some deep outs and fades at the end of the practice.

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