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Former Super Bowl-winning head coach suggests Michael Penix Jr. is a rare NFL Draft talent

Michael Penix Jr. NFL Draft, Las Vegas Raiders
Credit: Sara Diggins/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

NFL Draft analysts are all over the place on Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. A standout season, including a magnificent 430-yard passing day against Texas in the Sugar Bowl, boosted his stock.

Related: NFL scouts reveal where Michael Penix Jr is expected to be drafted in 2024, including an alarming worst-case scenario

But then, Michigan’s defense put the clamps on Penix, leading to the worst game of the 23-year-old NFL Draft prospect’s season in a 51-27 loss. This, inevitably, led to more criticism for Penix, lowering his draft stock back down.

Yet, that doesn’t mean Penix’s struggles in the College Football National Championship are enough to turn away one recent Super Bowl-winning head coach.

Current Bucs advisor Bruce Arians has very high praise for Michael Penix Jr.

bruce arians
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arians, who, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, was the last person to beat Patrick Mahomes in a Super Bowl in 2020, seems to be all in on Michael Penix Jr.

“As far as the football grade, I love (Penix) because he does things I love to do. He puts (the ball) up the field. He’s as accurate on throws up the field as anyone I’ve seen in 15 years Just to fight through that last game after he had that ankle tore up. But what he did to Texas was unbelievable.”

Bruce Arians on Michael Penix Jr.

While many point to Penix’s lengthy injury history, which includes two ACL tears and four season-ending injuries, Arians believes it only speaks to the QB prospect’s character.

“I think that says everything about the kid, how tough he is to overcome all that,” Arians said. “Then to play like he did this year. Now, the medical experts, when you get to the combine, they’ll tug and pull and do all that stuff. You’ll get the medical grade.”

By the way, while Arians is no longer coaching, he is still a part of the Buccaneers’ organization, where he works closely with GM Jason Licht in a senior advisor role.

The Buccaneers are expected to re-sign Baker Mayfield to a contract extension. Yet, with four picks in the top 125 selections, it’s always possible they invest more into the most important position in football, and it’s clear Arians is a big fan of Penix.

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