Sean Payton grills QB prospect over his worst plays

Denver Broncos HC Sean Payton put Michael Penix Jr. to the test

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos are clearly in the market for a young quarterback in 2024, and they're leaving no stone unturned. The Broncos reportedly met with every top QB prospect available in the 2024 NFL Draft class, and thanks to the players hitting the press podium after those meetings, we have gotten some interesting nuggets from almost every quarterback the Broncos talked to.

Perhaps none more interesting than Washington Huskies QB and Heisman candidate Michael Penix Jr., a former Indiana transfer who finished his collegiate career at Washington and really improved substantially in every facet of his game. When the Broncos got the chance to have a formal interview with Penix at the Combine (a 15-minute get-together), they definitely didn't gas him up.

According to Penix himself, Broncos head coach Sean Payton cut straight to the chase and started having Penix break down some of his worst plays in college.

Denver Broncos grill Michael Penix Jr. on bad plays

"They were tough...They pulled up a lot of bad plays, you know. But it's good because at the next level it's hard, it's hard to win. I understand that and I feel like in ways, they're probably just trying to see how I reacted to those bad plays, if I could take accountability and stuff like that. And I'm always going to do that. I'm always going to put others before me, and I'm gonna be honest about everything."

Michael Penix Jr.

Over the last two seasons at Washington, Penix threw for over 9,500 yards. He had 67 touchdown passes compared to just 19 interceptions. He also added seven rushing touchdowns over the last two years.

Considering what we saw from Penix at Indiana a couple of years prior to his arrival at Washington, his turnaround as a player and NFL prospect is nothing short of spectacular. And he will undoubtedly be an option for the Broncos, but where?

The biggest knock on Penix Jr. right now, besides the fact that he will be 24 years old in May, is the fact that he's had multiple significant injuries in his collegiate career (ACL, shoulders). The Broncos didn't get 15 minutes with him at the Scouting Combine to talk about his injuries, however. When you grill a player on his worst plays, you want to know what he's seeing, or what he saw at the time.

You want to know how he's processing coverage, why he chose to go that direction with the football, and why it was the wrong decision. What should he have done differently?


When quarterbacks can sit there and break down their worst plays, it's proof that they can learn from their mistakes and grow. It's a fascinating tactic when you talk about making a first impression, but formal interviews at the Scouting Combine could ultimately help the Broncos determine how much more digging they want to do on certain quarterback prospects as we get closer to the draft, and their list perhaps becomes a little shorter.

Next. 8 Draft mistakes that continue to haunt the Broncos. 8 Draft mistakes that continue to haunt the Broncos. dark