Choose Your Patriots QB

Choose Your Patriots QB: Michael Penix Jr. a smart bet later in Round 1?

If the Pats pass on a QB at No. 3 overall, should they jump back into Round 1 for Michael Penix Jr.?

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Editor's Note: The New England Patriots have a franchise-altering decision to make at quarterback this offseason. As part of our "Choose Your Patriots QB" series, we'll highlight five different paths the team can take at QB in 2024, laying out the pros and cons of each choice.

Today's scenario involves New England keeping the No. 3 pick, not taking a QB, and then trading back into the first round to select Washington's Michael Penix Jr.

The easiest way the New England Patriots can approach the 2024 NFL Draft is taking a quarterback at No. 3.

It's a position they desperately need to upgrade before next season, and they will have the chance to select one of the three Tier 1 quarterbacks in the class -- USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels.

🔊 Next Pats: Would the Patriots take a chance on Michael Penix Jr. despite his injury history? Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

But the 2024 class is pretty deep at quarterback. We could see as many as five or six players at the position drafted in Round 1. A case could be made for the Patriots taking a wide receiver or offensive lineman with the No. 3 pick, and then trading back into the first round for a quarterback such as Washington's Michael Penix Jr.

Former Patriots running back James White discussed this strategy a few weeks ago on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition.

"This draft class as far as quarterbacks go is pretty deep," White said. "You could trade back into the back half of the first round, or in the early second round, and get a talented guy maybe like Bo Nix or Michael Penix, somebody who can step in, maybe not right away but midway through the season or (in 2025) and develop the guy.

"You can't go wrong with a guy like Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye at No. 3. I don't have an issue with that. But I just think (Ohio State wide receiver) Marvin Harrison Jr. is a for-sure lock to be an NFL success at the wide receiver position."

Let's list some of the pros and cons of the Patriots trading up back into the first round and selecting Penix, as spotlighted in the video player above:

Pros to trading back into Round 1 for Penix

Prolific passer: Penix has great arm strength and was able to connect on a ton of deep throws during his time at Washington. He completed 65.3 percent of his pass attempts for 9,544 yards with 67 touchdowns and 19 interceptions during his two seasons with the Huskies. Penix was actually the only QB in college football to throw for 4,000-plus yards in each of the last two years. He's a tremendous pocket passer.

Use No. 3 pick for elite WR/OT: If the Patriots don't think Maye or Daniels is worthy of the No. 3 pick, they shouldn't force it. This pick is too important to the future success of the team to take a player the front office doesn't absolutely love.

If the Patriots don't want to take a QB, they can draft an elite wide receiver (Marvin Harrison Jr.) or left tackle (Joe Alt) prospect who can compliment whichever quarterback they take later in the draft. Quarterback isn't the only glaring position of need on the Patriots' roster. They desperately need an impact player at wide receiver, and Harrison has been labeled by many experts as a can't-miss prospect. The Athletic's draft expert Dane Brugler released his updated top 100 big board for the 2024 class earlier this week and Harrison was No. 2 behind only Caleb Williams. LSU wideout Malik Nabers was No. 3. Maye was No. 4 and Daniels was down at No. 8.

Cons to trading back into Round 1 for Penix

Injury history: Penix battled through a lot of injuries in his collegiate career. He's had two season-ending ACL tears, along with two season-ending joint dislocations of the shoulder. He did play a full season in 2022 and 2023, but how well will his body hold up in the NFL? His injury history is a huge risk for teams interested in taking him in the first or second round.

Didn't respond well to pressure in the pocket: Penix was fortunate to play behind one of the best offensive lines in college football last season. That group allowed just 11 sacks in 15 games. But when the pass rush did get close to Penix, his accuracy and production noticeably slipped. This could be a problem in the NFL, especially in New England given the uncertainty over its offensive line entering the 2024 season.

Phil Perry breaks down why Washington Huckies QB Michael Penix Jr. may not be the 'best fit' for what the Patriots need going forward. Perry points to Penix's skillset and injury history as potential limitations with New England's current offensive skill position players.

What's your take?

Should the Patriots trade back into Round 1 for Penix or choose from one of four other QB paths? Cast your vote in the poll below or by visiting our Patriots Vote page:

The Verdict

Penix was fantastic last season and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting as a result. His excellent performance versus a very good Texas defense in the College Football Playoff semifinal opened a lot of eyes. Penix played many big games with the Huskies over the last two years. In fact, he won 10 of 11 games since the start of 2022 against opponents that were ranked in the top 25 when the Huskies played them. He's used to playing in clutch situations and normally thrived in them.

Penix, due to injuries, played six seasons in college. He spent the first four at Indiana and the last two at Washington. Therefore, he has more experience than just about every other quarterback in this class.

But the injury history with Penix is too much of a risk and cannot be ignored.

Maye and Daniels are better overall prospects, and it would behoove the Patriots to select one of them at No. 3 instead of trading back into the first round for Penix.

Acquiring a second first-round pick would be costly, too, and given the Patriots' many roster weaknesses to address, they really shouldn't be giving up valuable draft capital to reach on a QB who's had a lot of injuries.

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