ESPN's Mina Kimes Rips Falcons' Selection of Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.

Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington quarterback Michael Penix (QB08) during the 2024 NFL
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington quarterback Michael Penix (QB08) during the 2024 NFL / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest surprise of the first round in Thursday night's NFL draft was the Atlanta Falcons selecting University of Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 pick.

The selection makes little sense on the surface. The franchise is just one month removed from signing veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract, which included $100 million guaranteed. Penix is not a prototypical developmental prospect—he turns 24 in two weeks.

ESPN's Mina Kimes ripped Atlanta's decision of drafting Penix in Friday morning's edition of First Take, saying it made little sense for the franchise or the player.

"If you think you're going to be good, which is why you pay Kirk Cousins $100 million guaranteed, you're doing your team a disservice by not making your team better so that you can compete now," Kimes began. "Offensively, they're set. Defensively, they haven't had a solid pass rushing option since frankly, John Abraham. ...In this draft, you have an opportunity to either take the best edge rusher available or trade down and take multiple shots on goal. They did neither of those things."

Kimes doesn't believe that Atlanta did right by Penix with the decision, either.

"In Penix, they get a quarterback who is not a developmental prospect," Kimes continued. "[The Falcons] mentioned the Jordan Love model. Jordan Love was 21 when the Packers took him. Michael Penix is about to turn 24 years old. ...Maybe he sits for a couple years. If he doesn't, something has gone horribly wrong in the Kirk Cousins contract, which is a huge waste, by the way, he's going to be 26 years old.

"So you will have wasted most of his rookie contract, it's a quarterback who should have probably played right away, and the track record of quarterbacks who do start at that age in the NFL for the first not good. ...It just doesn't add up. It doesn't add up for the team or the player. I wish he had landed somewhere else because I don't think this was a good destination for Penix either."

Time will tell what the future holds for Penix and the Falcons, but NFL fans and media alike will continue to scratch their heads at the decision making by the Atlanta front office.

Mike McDaniel


Mike McDaniel is a writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated, where he has worked since January 2022. His work has been featured at, SB Nation, FanSided, and more. Mike hosts the Hokie Hangover Podcast, covering Virginia Tech athletics, as well as Basketball Conference: The ACC Football Podcast. Outside of his professional life, he is a husband, father, and an avid golfer.