Buzz builds that Michael Penix Jr. will be drafted in top half of round one

It's widely regarded as a given that four quarterbacks will be taken in round one, possibly in the top 10: Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy, and Drake Maye. There's a growing belief that Bo Nix will slide out of the round completely.

Where does Michael Penix Jr. fit in this picture?

Some regard his draft placement and destination as a mystery. Others believe he'll be taken in the top half of the round.

Potential destinations for Penix include, in our assessment, the Vikings, Broncos, Raiders, and Seahawks.

The NFL, as previously reported, did not invite Penix or Nix to the draft in order to avoid another potential Will Levis slip-n-slide right out of round one. For Penix, that risk might have been lower than the league believed.

In plenty of cases, it's a non-obvious team that surprises everyone by snatching a player, like the Chiefs did when they moved from No. 27 to No. 10 to get Patrick Mahomes in 2017. The Steelers, who have two veterans under contract for 2025, could decide that Penix is the future. The Saints could make a move to acquire a post-Derek Carr starter.

There are a couple of other theoretical possibilities; look at the teams with veteran quarterbacks entering the final year of their contracts. Those teams have no reason to advertise interest in Penix, if they are interested. And then, if an opportunity arises, everything changes in one fell swoop.

We've seen it before. We could see it again. With Penix. In five days.