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2024 NFL Draft: Deion Sanders blasts media, critics for ‘ridiculous’ analysis of QB Michael Penix Jr.

NFL: Combine
USATSI

Count Colorado coach Deion Sanders among those who believe that former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is being slept on as the 2024 NFL Draft approaches. Sanders issued an impassioned message of support for Penix on Wednesday, just one day before the draft begins in Detroit, Michigan.

“I can’t stand the way the main stream media and draft experts have look over, look by & looked pass (sic) MICHAEL PENIX JR,” Sanders wrote on X. “This is ridiculous. This young man had a GREAT year and 1 average game vs the #1 defense in college football. SOMEBODY stand up & tell the Truth plz.”

Despite some obvious concerns about age and injury, Penix is slotted at No. 30 in the CBS Sports NFL Draft Prospect Rankings and is the fifth quarterback in the hierarchy behind Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels and J.J. McCarthy. That still puts Penix in the first-round conversation. 

The one “average game” Sanders is likely alluding to would be this past season’s College Football Playoff National Championship, when Washington fell 34-13 against Michigan. The left-handed passer completed 27 of 51 passes for 251 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in that contest to bring an unremarkable conclusion to an incredible two-year run with the Huskies.

Penix finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting while leading the nation in passing yards (4,903) in 2023. He threw 36 touchdown passes while guiding Washington to the Pac-12 title. Penix’s 25-3 record as a starter for the Huskies is the stuff of legend for a program that went 4-8 the year before his arrival.

How that translates to the pros remains to be seen. Penix will be 24 when the 2024 NFL season begins, placing him firmly on the older side for a draft prospect. Before Penix ever transferred to Washington from Indiana in December 2021, he had already suffered season-ending ACL injuries (2018, 2022), as well as a clavicle injury that required surgery (2019) and a dislocated shoulder (2021).

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