Falcons shock the world, take Michael Penix Jr. with 8th pick

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Boise State Broncos at Washington

Coming into the NFL Draft, the Falcons were at the epicenter of rampant speculation.

Would they take a fourth consecutive skill position player to make the most out of their shiny new $180 million quarterback Kirk Cousins? Would they finally put an emphasis on their defense and take the best defensive player in the class? Or perhaps they would trade down the board to accumulate more draft capital.

They did none of that. Instead, the Falcons shocked the world, staying put and taking Heisman Trophy runner up Michael Penix Jr. out of Washington.

Now, there were a couple of rumors about the Falcons having significant interest in Michael Penix Jr. ahead of the draft, but most sane people (including myself) brushed them off as smoke.

This is an organization that just invested $180 million in a quarterback over four years, with $100 million guaranteed. Financially speaking, the earliest Penix will see the field — unless there is an injury to Kirk Cousins — is 2026. For a team that has puffed out their chest talking about contending in 2024 and finally ending their six-year-long playoff drought, there’s really no justification for it.

As Falcons fans, I believe we can all agree that we hope Penix turns out to be the league’s next great quarterback. New offensive coordinator Zac Robinson is known for being extremely high on Patrick Mahomes before he was drafted. Hopefully, he sees something similar in Penix. But if you have this much conviction in a quarterback prospect, why dole out $180 million to the best free agent quarterback on the market?

Even if Penix turns out to be great, the process is undoubtedly flawed. There is so much to unpack over the coming weeks, that it all can’t be put into one draft night article. But I’ll leave you with this; this is football suicide. If Michael Penix Jr. doesn’t live up to his end of the bargain, everyone in the Falcons front office should not only never have a job again, but they should never be allowed to speak about the game again.

Hopefully, for everyone’s sake, the Falcons have some semblance of a plan. Because right now, we all should be worried about the guys making the decisions.

Photographer: Jesse Beals/Icon Sportswire

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