Pac-12 quarterbacks go under the microscope at NFL draft

The Pac-12 had three quarterbacks taken in the first 12 picks of the 2024 NFL draft. It’s a great result for Caleb Williams and the conference as a whole, but it certainly invites a lot of scrutiny.

USA TODAY Sports NFL analyst Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz went in on the Atlanta Falcons’ selection of Michael Penix at No. 8:

“For at least two years, there’s no off-ramp to the four-year, $180 million contract Kirk Cousins signed this March. By the time the 2026 regular season rolls around, Penix will be 26 – two years older than Jordan Love was this past fall when he took the reins to the Green Bay Packers’ offense. As a sixth-year senior with five seasons of starting experience, Penix isn’t exactly in the same boat as was Love. The second-place finisher for the Heisman Trophy can dazzle in the deep passing game when the conditions are right, but issues with mechanics, ball placement and being forced off his spot seem bound to be more prevalent problems in the pros.

“And while coach Raheem Morris and general manager Terry Fontenot can hope they’ve set up a similar succession plan here to the one Green Bay managed, pursuing an outlier outcome doesn’t make for a good process. And it’s never a good idea to send your freshly signed veteran quarterback down the Aaron Rodgers path of hurt feelings.”

Penix and Caleb Williams are both top-10 NFL draft picks. One selection was not questioned at all. Penix, on the other hand, is the single most-questioned draft pick of 2024. It’s a portrait of two different worlds.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire