QB Prospect Recalled ‘Tough’ Interview With Broncos

Getty 2024 NFL draft quarterback prospects (from left) Caleb Williams, J.J. McCarthy, Jayden Daniels, and Michael Penix Jr.

The Denver Broncos are searching for a franchise quarterback, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini, who wrote March 2 that “the Russell Wilson chapter will be over soon.”

While they have Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci under contract for 2024, they must find a quarterback who can revive their football relevance.

According to The Denver Post’s Parker Gabriel and Ryan McFadden, they started this process when general manager George Paton, head coach Sean Payton, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterbacks coach Davis Webb interviewed QB prospects for 18 minutes each at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Of all the responses shared with the media, former Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr.’s response stood out.

“They were tough, man. They were tough. They pulled up a lot of bad plays. But it’s good because, at the next level, it’s hard. It’s hard to win, and I understand that,” Penix said during his March 1 media availability at the combine. “And I feel like, in a way, they were probably trying to see how I reacted to those bad plays.”

Errors were a rarity for the first-team All-American quarterback, who threw for 4,903 passing yards and 36 touchdowns in 15 games. His scoring throws were third most among NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks last season.

But the highlight reel of horrors the Broncos shared with Penix might have included his two interceptions during the 2024 National Championship Game against the Michigan Wolverines.

But the Tennessee native said he understood that the Broncos showed his in-game flaws, not to undermine his football talent.

“To see if I could take accountability and stuff like that. I’m always going to do that. I’m always going to put others before me, and I’m going to be honest about everything,” he added.

Michael Penix Jr. Had ‘Best Throwing Session’ During the Combine

GettyMichael Penix Jr. at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson wrote March 4, “Penix, meanwhile, had arguably the best throwing session at the Combine. He threw deep passes with modest effort, with clean, tight spirals.”

His physical attributes, especially his 10.5-inch hands, were a positive factor in his success in Washington. Having hands that, according to NFL Network’s Peter Schrager, is in the “Top 10 all-time” for quarterbacks allows him to sling the ball with ease.

Robinson added that the 6-foot-2 quarterback has a 33.62-inch arm length and 81-inch wingspan. He did not participate in the 40-yard dash.

Meanwhile, his combine performance affirmed Dan Orlovsky’s statement during the February 29 episode of ESPN’s “First Take.” “Everybody that says they have watched him throw in person goes, ‘Oh, my gosh. When you see it in person, it is like an absolute lightning rod out of his shoulder,” said the former quarterback, who had played for 12 NFL seasons.

Broncos Will Love Michael Penix Jr.’s Competitive Drive

GettyMichael Penix Jr. at Radio Row before Super Bowl 58

Though some top quarterback prospects, including Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels opted to skip the combine’s throwing drills, Penix participated because he doesn’t shy away from challenges.

“Just to show I’m willing to compete. At the highest levels, I’m always willing to compete to the game that I love since I was a kid and any time I got an opportunity to compete,” Penix said during the same media availability during the combine, “I’m gonna take the opportunity. Nothing against the guys that’s not doing it but everybody has their own reasons. But for me, I don’t pass up on opportunities to compete.”

His battles on and off the field, especially the ACL and shoulder injuries that limited him to 21 games in four seasons, hardened his resolve to strive for the best. That trait will make the Broncos consider him when they go on the clock with the 12th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

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