Steelers to Host Pre-Draft Visit With Aggressive QB With ‘Live Arm’

The Pittsburgh Steelers have already added three quarterbacks to their roster this offseason. But that doesn’t mean the organization isn’t doing its homework on quarterback prospects such as Michael Penix Jr.

Mike Tomlin Michael Penix Jr.

The Washington quarterback told ESPN on March 28 that he has pre-draft visits scheduled with five teams, including the Steelers.

“Penix was seen chatting with New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen,” wrote ESPN’s Brad Henderson. “Penix told ESPN that he has pre-draft visits scheduled with the Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers beginning next week.”

The Steelers hosting Penix for a visit is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, teams are only permitted to host 30 players on visits during the pre-draft process.

Therefore, an NFL team hosting a player for an official 30 visit is a strong sign of interest.

The Steelers showing strong interest in quarterback prospects after their offseason additions behind center is a bit surprising. The Steelers signed Russell Wilson and Kyle Allen in NFL free agency. They also traded Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles and acquired Justin Fields from the Chicago Bears.

But Pittsburgh’s interest in Penix is a little less surprising given his deep-ball ability.

“For teams that want to chuck it down the field with a heavy dose of play action, Penix is an interesting dice roll,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Derrik Klassen. “His live arm, aggressiveness and moments of progression passing give him a shot to stick in the NFL.”

Michael Penix Jr. Shines at Washington Pro Day

Penix isn’t a sure-fire first-round pick like most of the other top quarterbacks in the 2024 draft class. So, his performance at Washington’s pro day was likely to significantly impact his draft stock.

Penix passed the test his pro day offered with flying colors. He ran a sub-4.6-second 40-yard dash, putting to rest any doubts about his athleticism.

“Penix’s speed has been something of a question mark after he ran for all of 8 yards on 35 attempts over 15 games last season,” Henderson wrote. “He ran for 92 yards in 13 games in 2022 after his first four college seasons, all at Indiana, were cut short by injuries, including a pair of torn ACLs.”

Penix also displayed his arm strength, tossing the ball roughly 75 yards downfield on some of his attempts.

It will be interesting to see how Penix’s pro day performance impacts his draft stock. With about a month to go until the 2024 draft, rumors are heating up that quarterbacks could make history as the top four choices in the class.

Penix isn’t expected to be one of those top four signal callers. But he greatly improved his chances of being the next quarterback off the board with his pro day display.

Draft Concerns Surrounding Michael Penix Jr.

There’s no argument that Penix helped himself at his pro day. But there will still be teams with concerns about the weaknesses he showed during his college career.

Penix suffered two torn ACLs early in college. He also struggled at times, particularly in the national championship game, under pressure.

“He’s a pocket passer who was ineffective in 2023 when defenses were able to crank up the heat and make him move his feet,”’s Lance Zierlein wrote. “Playing in a shotgun-based spread attack might give him his best chance to succeed, but he needs to prove he can thrive outside of the Washington offense and stay free from injury.”

Klassen argued that Penix has limited upside because of a “lack of touch, shaky pocket management and minimal ability to create plays.” Even though Klassen ranked him the No. 5 quarterback in the class, he classified Penix as a third-round pick.

It’s important to note that those scouting reports were written before his pro day performance. However, Penix’s display on March 28 can’t change what he already has on tape.

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