Probably the most fascinating prospects within the 2024 NFL Draft is Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.. The lefty with the rifle arm captivated the eyes of school soccer after transferring to Seattle two years in the past, and now’s going to the NFL with hopes of being part of a really small listing of left-handed QBs who had success within the NFL.
Due to the great people at Panini, I used to be in a position to meet up with Penix Jr. to speak about playing cards, passing progressions and QBs he enjoys watching. Panini America is internet hosting Michael Penix Jr. together with a number of different NFL gamers and draft prospects on the Panini Prizm VIP occasion in Las Vegas forward of Tremendous Bowl Weekend.
J.P. Acosta (JA): So what are you doing with Panini in the course of the Tremendous Bowl?
Michael Penix Jr (MPJ): Proper now I’m on the Panini home, you realize, simply spending time with them. They acquired quite a lot of cool issues occurring in right here, been doing autographs, I acquired buying and selling playing cards and stuff like that popping out quickly, you realize. So I’m simply having fun with my time right here in Vegas, you realize? I’ve been with them [Panini] since earlier than the season. So it’s been an actual good course of. And I’ve been having fun with it to date.
JA: So while you have been a child, did you acquire participant playing cards like Panini has? And if you happen to did, did you’ve a favourite participant rising up that you simply tried to gather their card?
MPJ: I didn’t actually acquire participant playing cards that a lot rising up, you realize, but when it was any individual that I needed a card from, I imply the greats like quarterback stuff, you realize, for me, I watched Mike Vick, Tom Brady.
JA: Throughout Washington’s run this previous season, going undefeated, making it to the nationwide championship, you acquired quite a lot of love and appreciation from Indiana followers. How did that make you’re feeling, seeing that love and appreciation even after transferring?
MPJ: I didn’t actually see it an excessive amount of. You recognize, I don’t actually be on social media lots. However I did see a few of it, you realize, however it’s good to know that someplace the place, you realize, I spent quite a lot of my time at, placing quite a lot of onerous work and dedication right into a program nonetheless displaying me assist, you realize, though I needed to transfer on. It’s nice to have assist like that.
JA: What was that strategy of studying quarterback mechanics left handed when every little thing on this planet appears to be like, it’s taught in direction of proper handed quarterbacks or proper handed folks?
MPJ: So far as the entire left hand, proper hand factor, you realize, I really feel like that didn’t actually occur. Like, it didn’t actually have an effect on me. If it feels onerous on anyone, it’s in all probability tougher on my coaches, just like the trainers, that was coaching me. For me, I used to be at all times in a position to, you realize, I’ll see him do a proper handed and it was at all times straightforward for me to select it up and flip it to the left hand facet, so it wasn’t actually that arduous for me.
JA: One of many issues I like about your play is throwing off platform, so I used to be questioning form of the way you prepare your self and having the ability to have the ability to throw outdoors the pocket so that you simply’re in a position to get the ball not solely downfield, however precisely.
MPJ: I really feel like quite a lot of that got here naturally. Clearly, you realize, simply going by means of quarterback coaching and stuff like that, they put in drills which might be comparable and stuff like that, too, however after I first began enjoying quarterback I used to be throwing sidearm, you realize. I performed baseball, and I didn’t actually have the mechanics, I didn’t actually know easy methods to throw it, so I actually began off throwing sidearm simply naturally, however, um, I really feel like quite a lot of is pure.
JA: At Washington you had three nice receivers in Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillian and Ja’Lynn Polk. How does your passing development change when you’ve receivers like them on the surface?
MPJ: It wasn’t actually a change in any respect, you realize, it’s all constructed into the play. I really feel like I do a great job of attempting to ensure I get the ball to anyone who’s open. And if I really feel like everyone seems to be gloved (lined), and I belief any of them to only put the ball in the appropriate spot, you realize, they usually’ll make the play for me. So, it simply made it simpler for me to be trustworthy.
JA: Say you’re constructing out a playbook for your self. What are two or three of your favourite passing ideas that you must have? Like, if it will get known as you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m cooking on this.’
MPJ: First one I’ll say is 4 verts. 4 verts is nice in opposition to something, and clearly I like to indicate off my arm. So 4 verts is primary, then I like possibility ideas, you realize. Choice routes and stuff like that throughout the board. Simply looking for some methods to provide the receiver a number of choices or alternative ways to get open. I really feel like with my fast launch and my capability to make throws off platform, I’m in a position to modify and react shortly to any route.
JA: So on these possibility routes, are you studying the leverage of the defender, or how do you learn it out?
MPJ: I’m studying my receiver, like you could possibly have possibility proper and the defender has inside leverage and the receiver nonetheless breaks inside and get open. It’s simply based mostly on movie or the best way he [the defender] is enjoying it, the approach he’s enjoying at. So with possibility routes you gotta learn your receiver.
JA: What would you inform 18-year-old you in regards to the strategy of going by means of faculty the best way you probably did, based mostly on all that you simply’ve been by means of?
MPJ: Simply preserve preventing. Adversity is gonna present, so simply be prepared for it and be able to assault it, you realize, with a mindset that, you wish to proceed to get higher and are available out on the higher facet of it.
JA: While you take a look at guys who’re both at the moment within the NFL or traditionally, who’re some QBs that you simply attempt to emulate or mannequin your playstyle after?
MPJ: I wouldn’t say I attempt to emulate anyone, I attempt to be the most effective model of me. Rising up, I used to look at Mike Vick. I watched Teddy Bridgewater, when he was at Louisville. You recognize, earlier than he acquired the accidents and stuff like that, I really feel like he was a fantastic quarterback as nicely, however it was actually these two guys.
JA: My final query for you Michael, while you get to the NFL, who’s the NFL getting in Michael Penix Jr.?
MPJ: They’re gonna get a confirmed winner. I’ve been in a position to win all over the place I’ve been and, you realize, circumstances weren’t at all times the most effective. I really feel like, you realize, to me collectively with my crew simply discovering methods to win at any time when I used to be on the sphere. I’m the most effective quarterback on this draft, for a number of causes, however I simply know I could make any throw at any time.
I additionally acquired to interrupt down considered one of my favourite passes by Penix in his whole profession, this 76-yard landing in opposition to Oregon in 2022. It completely dominated, and listening to Penix discuss it was even cooler.