Photo of Arthur Blank in red suit and photo of Michael Penix Jr. smiling

Arthur Blank and Michael Penix Jr. (Photos via Getty Images)
The Atlanta Falcons’ selection of quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at this past weekend’s NFL Draft continues to dominate the headlines, having gone down as the most shocking pick of the event.

The Falcons, who only recently signed Kirk Cousins to a massive $180 million deal (with $100 million guaranteed), surprisingly made Penix the No. 8 overall pick on Thursday night, prompting rife debate.

As expected, the topic has been one attracting much discussion at ESPN, with Mima Kimes branding it somewhat illogical during an episode of ‘First Take,’ pushing back on Dan Orlovsky branding the decision as a perfectly sound one for the future.

I find the justification to be somewhat logically incoherent… 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… it just doesn’t add up for the team or the player,” Kimes said.

Kimes’ former ESPN colleague, Dianna Russini, who is now with The Athletic, has added to this, posting a video of Kimes offering her opinion and stating that she’s spoken to several coaches and general managers who share the same view.

Arthur Blank Might Not Have The Patience To Wait Around For Michael Penix Jr.

Russini also revealed that one GM thinks the pick was even more perplexing, given owner Arthur Blank’s age. Blank is 81 and, according to said GM, doesn’t care what happens after 2026 and wants to see his team win now.

Mr. Blank is how old? He wants to win now… he’s not obsessing over ‘26 and beyond. They have needs now,” he was quoted as saying.

This suggests Blank might feel like he has little time left and wants to see the team win a championship before he kicks it.

Blank bought the team for $545 million in 2002; it’s now worth around $4 billion. Still, they have never won a Super Bowl, with two NFC Championships and six division titles to their name.

As for the decision to draft Michael Penix Jr., it’s hard to imagine Falcons GM Terry Fontenot going ahead without approval from the owner.