Johnny Manziel gives glowing review of Michael Penix Jr. and harsh reality for Terry Fontenot

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 08 CFP National Championship Michigan vs Washington

Very few people saw the Falcons taking Michael Penix Jr. with the 8th overall pick coming after they just signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract.

The move has been met with mixed reviews. Most media pundits are perplexed by the Falcons’ use of resources and lack of a clear direction. Others were impressed by general manager Terry Fontenot’s gumption to take a quarterback he believed in that high, knowing the backlash he would receive because of it.

One polarizing voice that is part of the latter group is former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner was recently on The Favorites Sports Betting Podcast hosted by The Action Network’s Chad Millman and Simon Hunter, and he had some glowing reviews of Penix and the situation he’s walking into in Atlanta.

“For me, what I heard through the draft process was nothing but positive things about Michael Penix, about the way his work ethic was, about the way his meetings were,” Manziel said. “Where I do my training and the people that I work out with, everybody that I went to had great things to say about him. That this kid works hard. That this guy has a great work ethic. That he’s in it for the football reasons. That, for me, and knowing what I have seen of him playing the position, I truly feel he’s got a lot of potential, and he’s going to be the guy there.”

If you’re a Falcons fan attempting to look at this quarterback controversy positively, particularly from the Michael Penix side of things, two aspects are continually brought up about the Washington quarterback. His arm was built in a laboratory. His ability to sling the rock with velocity allows him to fit balls into tight windows that most quarterbacks wouldn’t even think about throwing into.

The other aspect is his work ethic. Being a quarterback in this league is 90% about what’s above the neck. Penix proved to be a leader and winner at the University of Washington. He blew the Falcons away throughout the pre-draft process in his interviews, and nobody seems to have a negative thing to say about his intangibles. The athleticism and arm strength are what will catch eyes initially, but it’s these traits that will ultimately determine his success at the next level.

For Terry Fontenot’s sake, he better hope it works out.

“This is the kind of pick that gets people fired in the NFL if it doesn’t work out,” Manziel said. “That’s just the reality of the situation, and what it is. He’s going to have to go in and play and be the guy as a first round pick, a top 10 pick, that’s going to have to go and live up to those expectations. Now, that GM and him (Michael Penix Jr.) are tied to each other for the rest of their time there. When it comes down to it, you lay your job on the line for a guy. That’s how much belief that they had in him there in Atlanta.”

In a lot of ways, the Falcons hedged their bets by signing Kirk Cousins and drafting Michael Penix Jr, hoping to avoid the dreaded quarterback purgatory that they’ve been stuck in since Matt Ryan was traded to Indianapolis. However, Terry Fontenot’s tenure will ultimately be remembered by this selection of Michael Penix.

If it works, and Penix is the next franchise quarterback for over a decade, leading the Falcons back to the Super Bowl, Fontenot may never have to worry about filling out a job application again. If it doesn’t, he may have a difficult time convincing another organization to give him any kind of front office role in the future.

Photo: David Buono/Icon Sportswire


Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: