NFL Rumors: 5 contenders who should take a chance on Michael Penix Jr.

Immensely talented, but with a terrifying injury history, where could Michael Penix Jr. land?

The upcoming NFL Draft is loaded with quarterback prospects. Which teams should take a chance on Michael Penix Jr.?
The upcoming NFL Draft is loaded with quarterback prospects. Which teams should take a chance on Michael Penix Jr.? / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
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There are still three games to go in the NFL season, but for the 28 teams that are already planning ahead, the NFL Draft is closer than ever. The draft has become one of the marquee events in the NFL calendar because it can supply even the worst teams with something they don't get to experience very often: hope.

This year's draft is exciting for many reasons, the most obvious of which is the quarterback talent that's available. Nothing can more quickly change a franchise's fate than the right man under center. Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels are widely expected to be off the board right away, which makes it difficult for any team drafting outside the top 10 to have a shot at them, at least not without mortgaging their future in the process.

As we've seen from these playoffs alone, though, franchise-altering quarterbacks can be had well after the first few picks. Just look at the four teams remaining. Jared Goff was the No. 1 overall selection, but his opponent, Brock Purdy, was Mr. Irrelevant. Patrick Mahomes, widely agreed to be the best quarterback in the game, wasn't drafted until the 10th pick (and as a Bears fan, if you say the name Mitch Trubisky right now, so help me...). Lamar Jackson (Heisman Trophy-winning, soon-to-be-two-time-MVP Lamar Jackson), slid all the way to No. 32.

There are several quarterbacks with tremendous upside that most teams will have a shot at. J.J. McCarthy, fresh off a national championship with Michigan, is one of them. So is Spencer Rattler, the Sooner-turned-Gamecock who excelled despite playing behind one of the country's worst offensive lines, and Bo Nix, who became one of college football's most efficient passers after transferring from Auburn to Oregon. I'd like to talk today, though, about Michael Penix Jr., one of the most fascinating prospects in the entire draft.

Penix's college career could be its own movie. Given just a three-star grade by most recruiting sites, he signed with Indiana, a school not exactly known for its football team. There, he led the Hoosiers to two of the best seasons they've ever had, but his time in Bloomington was marked by major injuries four years in a row, including tearing the same ACL on two separate occasions.

Penix then transferred to Washington, where he finally remained healthy enough to show that he was one of the country's most exciting players. This year, he finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting and led the Huskies to the College Football Playoff, where he dazzled against Texas and kept his team within one score into the fourth quarter against a stacked Michigan team.

There's a conspicuous need for more good quarterback play in the NFL. Penix's injury history and age keep him from being thought of in the same tier as Williams, Maye, and Daniels, but they could also be the reasons that a team that is more ready to compete could be able to swoop in and give the talented quarterback a home. Let's look at five landing spots for Penix that make a lot of sense.

5) Seattle Seahawks

Geno Smith has resurrected his career in Seattle, leading the Seahawks to consecutive 9-8 finishes and one playoff appearance after taking over the starting job in the wake of the Russell Wilson trade.

Smith has been legitimately good, throwing for nearly 8,000 yards in two seasons and winning the Comeback Player of the Year award last year. "They wrote me off, but I didn't write back" was one of the best moments of the 2022-23 season. With Pete Carroll no longer the head coach, though, it's fair to wonder if the clock might be ticking on Smith's grasp of the starting job.

The Seahawks are one of two teams that have yet to fill their head coaching vacancy, but it stands to reason that the new guy in charge will have his own ideas about what his new team should look like. That probably includes drafting a new quarterback of the future.

Smith has two years remaining on the three-year deal he signed last offseason, and Seattle can't get out of it without absorbing a significant cap hit. That should lock him in as the Seahawks' starter until then, but after that, it's anyone's guess. The success of guys like Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love, both of whom sat after being picked in the first round, should encourage Seattle to draft a quarterback now.

Why not go for the guy who lit it up just a short drive away from Lumen Field? Landing Penix will invigorate the Seahawks fanbase, many of whom have seen firsthand how talented he is. Penix could learn from Geno for a year or two, then take over in 2026.