The Gameplan

Perry: Why Michael Penix Jr. may not be the ‘best fit' for Patriots

The Washington signal-caller is among the top QB options for the Patriots in the 2024 draft.

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If the New England Patriots miss out on USC's Caleb Williams or UNC's Drake Maye, they could still land a promising quarterback prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Washington's Michael Penix Jr. is in the next tier of QBs who will be available next April. On Monday, he boosted his already-high draft stock with a spectacular performance vs. Texas to propel the Huskies to the National Championship game.

Penix Jr. completed 29 of his 38 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns in the 37-31 win over the Longhorns. The near-perfect outing added to what's been a remarkable campaign for the 23-year-old. Through 14 games, he has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 4,648 yards, 35 touchdowns, and just nine interceptions.

Despite all of those positives, our Patriots insider Phil Perry is reluctant to get aboard the Penix Jr. hype train. While Perry acknowledges his talent, he's wary of Penix Jr. not being the right fit for New England at this time.

"I love Michael Penix Jr.'s game and I love the way he played the other night," Perry said Wednesday on The Gameplan. "I mean, he was dynamic. He was even making plays on the move, which isn't usually his game. They used him in the running game at times and picked up some really critical gains in that matchup.

"I just look at Michael Penix, and as much as I like him and as good as he is, I'm not sure he's the best fit for the Patriots right now. I think the Patriots the way they're constructed, with the offensive line, with the weapons around that quarterback position, I think you really need someone who's a playmaker just to help you get through those first couple of years of the rookie contract of that quarterback, whoever it is. I think they need somebody who can move a little bit more than Penix can."

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Perry is also turned off by Penix Jr.'s lengthy injury history. Penix Jr. tore his right ACL as a true freshman, underwent surgery for a dislocated SC joint in his non-throwing (right) shoulder as a redshirt freshman, tore his right ACL again the following year, and suffered a season-ending AC separation in his throwing shoulder a few weeks after returning from his second ACL tear.

"The other thing that scares me a little bit about Penix -- and I don't know how teams will look at, it'll depend on what the medical reports end up showing up at the combine -- but he's had two ACL tears to the same knee," Perry added. "So it's his front leg, it's his right leg, and just long-term I wonder how NFL team doctors will look at that and say, 'We feel great about him playing X number of years.'

"That, to me, is significant. Not his age so much. It's the injury history and the knees specifically that I think will give teams serious pause."

The Patriots enter the final week of the regular season with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 draft. Depending on how Week 18 unfolds, they could end up as high as No. 2 overall or as low as No. 5.

If the Pats pick in the top three, they could have a chance to draft Williams, Maye, or LSU''s Jayden Daniels. Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. is another intriguing option if they opt to address the wide receiver position instead. Penix Jr. could slip to Round 2 or later, though that will likely depend on his medicals.

New England will wrap up its season on Sunday against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.

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