Raiders need to resist the temptation to overpay for Michael Penix

Spending a first-round pick on Michael Penix could be a reasonable move by the Raiders' front office. Spending the No. 13 pick on the southpaw signal caller would be an expensive mistake.
Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) against the
Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) against the / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The chances of either Aidan O'Connell or Gardner Minshew leading the Las Vegas Raiders to playoff glory this season aren't very high. As such, it makes perfect sense for the team's front office to be interested in drafting Michael Penix Jr. The trick for Las Vegas will be to make sure they don't overpay for the talented gunslinger.

The Raiders currently possess the No. 13 overall pick. Chances are, Penix will still be on the board when Las Vegas goes on the clock. It's imperative for the organization's team building that the front office resists the urge to reach for the former Washington star at that spot.

The problem the Raiders face is that they don't pick again until the No. 44 overall pick in Round 2. It would be a major surprise if Penix is still on the board if the organization elects to stay put at that spot. The Raiders' first two draft picks don't line up well with taking Penix at a spot where he will be available to provide good value.

A report from Vic Tafur of the Athletic that "whispers" are getting louder about the Raiders taking Penix at No. 13 should worry fans. He has a chance to be a good starting quarterback but his injury history makes him a pretty big risk in the top half of Round 1. He also lacks the upside that teams typically covet from quarterbacks who flirt with top-10 status.

If Raiders want Michael Penix, trading down is the only reasonable path

The solution that Las Vegas needs to pursue is simple in concept but can be difficult to actually execute. The organization needs to trade down from their current spot in Round 1 far enough to turn Penix from a reach to a value selection. That's a risky game to play given all the smoke screens that will pop up between now and the time the draft begins.

The upside is that it gives Las Vegas a unique opportunity to come out of this draft with someone they believe to be a franchise quarterback and additional draft capital. Moving down 10 spots in Round 1 might even net the Raiders an extra second or third-round pick in this year's draft. That's a valuable asset for a roster that is more than one player away from Super Bowl contention.

If the Raiders do reach for Penix at No. 13 and he turns out to be a long-term starter then no one will question the decision. It still would represent a missed opportunity for a front office that needs to accumulate additional assets. A trade down is imperative for Las Vegas if they want to land Penix and maximize their overall draft haul.

League appears to leak a few names that are likely to slide. dark. NFL Draft. League appears to leak a few names that are likely to slide