2024 Rookie Faceoff: Bo Nix v Michael Penix Jr

Rookie quarterbacks are far from an exact science when trying to evaluate them for fantasy football regardless of how high they go in the NFL Draft. In this edition of the 2024 Rookie Faceoff, we compare the two quarterbacks whose selection sent shockwaves through the NFL, Bo Nix vs. Michael Penix Jr. To see where they both fall in our rankings, check out our Rookie Rankings Page. Also, check out the 2024 NFL Draft coverage to stay up-to-date. For the sake of this faceoff, we will be comparing the prospects in seven categories. Size, speed and rushing ability, arm strength and accuracy, throw mechanics, college production, and college QB rating as well as draft capital and landing spot as well as draft capital and landing spot. Welcome to the 2024 Rookie Faceoff: Bo Nix v Michael Penix Jr.

This faceoff features the two riskiest quarterbacks of the six selected in the first round. Going into the draft, it seemed far-fetched that one of these two would be selected in the first round, let alone both, but alas, here we are. These are easily the two oldest of the first-round quarterbacks, and with both of them producing their best seasons late in their college careers, it leaves many fantasy managers concerned about their career outlooks.

Meet Bo Nix

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Bo Nix began his career with three largely mediocre seasons at The University of Auburn. He would transfer to The University of Oregon for his final two seasons and that is where his production would reach a whole new level. Nix is 24.2 years old heading into his rookie season, so he is further along in his development than most rookie quarterbacks. His college breakout age was 22.5 years old, which is in the 11th percentile.

Meet Michael Penix Jr

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Michael Penix Jr followed a similar trajectory to Nix. He spent his first four seasons at The University of Indiana but never really got his feet under him as he was plagued by a series of season-ending injuries that would conclude each of his first four seasons prematurely. He transferred to The University of Washington for his final two seasons which is where his game took off as he transitioned into a traditional pocket passer in a high-flying offense. Like Nix, he too is an older prospect at 24.0 years old. The 2024 NFL Scouting Combine was far kinder to Penix Jr than it was to Nix. Penix Jr posted a Vertical Jump in the 95th percentile and a Broad Jump in the 98th percentile. He posted a breakout age of 20.3 years old which falls in the 61st percentile.

Player Comparables

The two most relevant player comparisons for Nix and Penix Jr are both players who have not produced at the NFL level to this point. Nix’s profile has him closest to Detroit Lions backup quarterback Hendon Hooker, while Penix Jr is closest to Denver Broncos backup quarterback Zach Wilson. Wilson has been declared a bust so far and has moved on to a new team this offseason, while Hooker has yet to see game action after rehabbing from injury. Hopefully, these two have a better career arc than their two comparisons.

Size Comparison

This category could not be much closer, Michael Penix Jr checks in at 6’2″ and 216 lbs. Bo Nix on the other hand checks in at 6’2″ and 214 lbs. This one is a clear tie as the two lbs separating the two is negligible.

Both quarterbacks profile to be traditional pocket passers, and unless Penix Jr wants to risk injury to become a rushing quarterback again, their size is equal. They both have more than enough size to be productive quarterbacks at the NFL level and it won’t be a concern for either long-term.

Winner: Tie (0-0-1)

Speed Comparison

As far as speed goes, Michael Penix Jr runs a 4.57 second 40-yard Dash, while Bo Nix runs a 4.75 second 40-yard Dash. Nix isn’t a mobile quarterback and certainly won’t be too concerned with his overall speed. He is fast enough to escape pressure, but rushing isn’t a notable part of his game so it’s no surprise that he isn’t very fast.

Penix Jr on the other hand has solid speed and rushing has been a part of his game in the past. With a lengthy injury history, however, the Falcons may have him glued to the pocket when he does get his chance. In the end, his high-end speed allows him to at least be a threat to rush and should allow him the ability to add in some fantasy points when he is forced to scramble.

This category goes to Michael Penix Jr easily. It remains to be seen whether or not he will use his speed, but if he can use it safely, he has much better speed.

Winner: Michael Penix Jr (1-0-1)

Arm Strength/Accuracy

This is our third head-to-head category and is the first win for Bo Nix. Michael Penix Jr graded out as an 84 on short throws, 93 on intermediate throws, and 95 on deep throws, for an average of 90 overall.

Bo Nix on the other hand graded out as an 85 on short throws, 93 on intermediate throws, 96 on deep throws, and a 91 overall.

Nix was better on short and deep throws, although he was far more comfortable in the short area of the field. The two were equal in the intermediate area of the field.

In the end, Nix was better overall and got the win in this category. This one could be a contextual win as Nix had his offensive system catered towards his skillset, so, unsurprisingly, he gets the win here.

Winner: Bo Nix (1-1-1)


This is another category that could be the result of high repetition in an offensive system catered to Bo Nix. His arm release and body mechanics graded out as a 91, while Penix Jr graded out as an 84.

As I said above, this could all be an offensive scheme. It’s easy for Nix to maintain consistent footwork and release point when he is repeating the same six-yard screen pass over and over again on a loop.

Penix Jr, however, was asked to do a bit more in high-pressure games against elite opponents and therefore showed more breakdowns in his overall technique.

This category goes to Bo Nix, but it’s with heavy asterisks. I can’t wait to see what these two can do when they find themselves in new offensive systems.

Winner: Bo Nix (2-1-1)

College Production

As far as production goes, both showed two elite years of production in their final two seasons after struggling in their early collegiate careers.

Through the first three years of his career at The University of Auburn, Nix totaled between 2,200 and 2,500 passing yards, he also threw for between 10 and 16 touchdowns. Penix was not nearly as impressive in his early seasons. In his first four years, he had two seasons with under 1,000 passing yards and two additional seasons with 1,300 to 1,600 passing yards. So the early years at their original schools go to Nix as he was slightly better at being mediocre than Penix Jr.

Their final two seasons are where things get interesting. After transferring, they both launched into the stratosphere. Nix would go on to put up seasons of 3,593 and 4,508 passing yards, with 29 and 45 touchdowns respectively for Oregon. Penix Jr would put up seasons with 4,641 and 4,903 passing yards, with 31 and 36 touchdowns respectively.

While the highest single-season touchdown number belongs to Nix, Penix jr put up back-to-back elite passing yardage seasons so he will get the overall win as he showed truly elite production for his final two seasons.

Winner: Michael Penix Jr (2-2-1)

College QB Rating

As always, this category is just straight math. Bo Nix had a college QBR of 87.0, while Michael Penix Jr posted a college QBR of 85.7. Once again, it could be argued that Nix was a product of his environment and therefore would be expected to be more efficient, but we can’t hold that against him. Nix did what he was asked and did it fairly well and consistently.

Whether or not his skillset will translate to the next level is the ultimate mystery, but as far as a straight number-to-number comparison goes, without adding any additional contextual argument, Bo Nix is the winner here.

Winner: Bo Nix (3-2-1)

Landing Spot & Draft Capital

The draft capital argument is a moot point to an extent. Penix Jr gets a slight edge as he went eighth overall while Nix went 12th overall. They both went in the first round and both as top-12 picks, so unless you believe Nix should be docked for falling outside the top 10, this is a narrow win for Penix Jr.

The deciding factor here is the easy landing spot, which made a much bigger difference than draft capital in this case. Penix Jr goes to an Atlanta Falcons squad that is likely to see him sit behind veteran Kirk Cousins for at least one season. Bo Nix, on the other hand, goes to a quarterback-starved Denver Broncos team that just let their “franchise quarterback” leave for Pittsburgh. Nix has the most immediate path to being a starting quarterback and therefore, he gets the easy win in this category.

Winner: Bo Nix (4-2-1)

And the Winner is…

The winner here is Bo Nix with a score of 4-2-1. As far as talent goes, it could be argued that Penix Jr is easily the better of the two quarterbacks, but for the immediate future that appears to not matter.

Nix is infinitely more likely to start an NFL game before Penix Jr does and therefore he is the easy pick despite his projected deficiencies.

The other bonus for Nix is that if anyone can run a system similar to the one he succeeded in at Oregon, it’s Sean Payton. Payton made his name running this short-area, dink-and-dunk offense with Hall of Famer Drew Brees.

Bo Nox is by no means Drew Brees, but he could be the beneficiary of the perfect storm for rookie quarterbacks where team environment is almost as crucial to development as talent is.

If you would like to learn more about Nix and Penix Jr, check out our 2024 Rookie Sneak Peek videos of both players on The Fantasy Football Universe Podcast.

Bo Nix Oregon
Michael Penix Washington
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