This year’s quarterback class might break records regarding how many are taken in the first round. And while I think that Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield has shown enough to be the starter for next year (barring a disastrous week 18 performance), the Bucs would be foolish to pass up on a guy like Michael Penix Jr should he fall to them. Whether it’s the first or second. they virtually have no chance at Drake Maye, Caleb Williams, and probably Jayden Daniels.
Everyone has fallen in love with Michael Penix Jr. And with him being from the Tampa area, Bucs fans have started banging the drum for him. It’s hard not to like him. He has one of the best deep throws and seems to have a good pocket presence. On paper, he does seem to line up with Baker Mayfield pretty well. While neither are statues in the pocket, they both move around if needed.
However, Penix Jr is definitely more statutory than Mayfield. Part of Baker’s appeal for the team has been when he lowers his shoulder to run. He is a very tough runner when he chooses to leave the pocket. If anything, he seems to thrive on it. Penix Jr can’t do that as much because of his ACL injuries. In this way, he is probably more like Brady who ran once in a blue moon, just manipulated the pocket while looking downfield. He definitely can still run, but his eyes are almost always looking downfield when possible.
The other thing to consider with Penix Jr is if his style of play works with the Bucs. At Washington, they very much rely on the deep ball. While the Bucs have on occasion dialed that up, this team hasn’t utilized a horizontal passing game.
So unless Dave Canales radically changes the offense to a more air raid style, I don’t know if Penix Jr would be well-suited to this current offense. Not saying he couldn’t learn it, but that is not what he is known for at this moment. One also has to consider that the reason he is able to go downfield so often is the o-line for Washington is amazing. The Bucs o-line is good, but likely won’t provide the level of time he is used to.
Almost all of these clips show Penix Jr throwing to a deep WR. While the Buccaneers definitely do have the WRs to pull this off, I do not think this o-line will allow for this style of play. That could change if some talent is brought in for the interior. But especially after the Saints game, I am not sold this line in its current iteration could protect long enough for that to develop, on top of my earlier concerns with Canales and his playbook.
The other QBs available are not as good as Penix Jr in my humble opinion. I am not sold on Bo Nix being able to operate an NFL offense. J.J. Mccarthy is a definite no. Spencer Rattler would be interesting, but kind of a wild card. Unless the Buccaneers do want to trade up for one of the top 3 prospects, Penix Jr is the best option if they desire a QB in this draft. I think Baker is a good QB for him to develop behind. And while he hasn’t shown able to operate a more west coast offense, it doesn’t mean he can’t. I would be very excited if the Bucs did draft him in the first, even though QB isn’t their biggest need. I think he will end up being a really good starter.
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Cannon Crunch with Devin Sanguinett