Falcons day 2 mock draft: Atlanta makes another unconventional pick

With the eighth pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected QB Michael Penix Jr. Could they nab a familiar face with another controversial move on day 2?
Washington v Stanford
Washington v Stanford / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The Falcons took their first round one QB in 16 years last night

"With the eighth pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select; Michael Penix Jr. Quarterback, Washington."

Within 30 seconds, social media was on fire. Falcons fans distraught at the thought of missing out on names like Dallas Turner, Laiatu Latu, Quinyon Mitchell, and Byron Murphy took to Twitter in swarms furious at the Falcons pick. After all, Atlanta just signed QB Kirk Cousins to a $190M contract in free agency and is being investigated for tampering as a result. Why on earth would they take a QB?

I am not here to defend or criticize the pick, and frankly, there is no point in doing so in the first place. What's done is done and nobody can change it. The only thing to do now is to move forward. If the Falcons are placing their faith in Kirk Cousins for the next two seasons and in Michael Penix beyond that, all that can be done now is to do everything possible to make it work.

Day 2 of the NFL Draft

Going into day two of the draft, the Falcons have the same needs as yesterday. Edge rusher, cornerback, and wide receiver are all top positions of need, while offensive tackle should be considered. After all, Jake Matthews is getting older and Kaleb McGary is nearing the final deal of his contract extension. The Falcons hold the 43rd overall pick (pick #11 of round two) and the 74th and 79th overall picks. (picks #9 and #14 of the third round)

With players like Cooper DeJean, Kool-Aid McKinstry, Ennis Rakestraw Jr, and TJ Tampa still on the board, cornerback is a rich position on day two. Edge is a fair bit lighter, but still offers depth as well. Rounds two and three should also see receivers fly off the board as teams try to fill their offenses. While these are all needs for Atlanta, there is an unconventional pick that I believe the Falcons should consider.

Round 2

Falcons Patriots trade

Cooper DeJean. Cooper DeJean. DB | Iowa. Cooper DeJean. player. 44. . . . 34

The Patriots took Drake Maye 3rd overall and now look to get him receiver help on day two. By trading back with the Falcons, the Patriots can still take a solid receiver and address other positions or get an additional receiver in round three. Meanwhile, the Falcons trade up to select the versatile defensive back Cooper DeJean, who can fill needs at both cornerback and safety, addressing two needs at once. While Atlanta could take the true cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry here, the versatility DeJean offers is too valuable to pass up on- especially on a round-two contract.

Round 3

Falcons Cardinals

. 66. 44. . . RT | Washington. Roger Rosengarten. Roger Rosengarten. Roger Rosengarten. player

The unconventional pick

After taking QB Michael Penix in round one, the Falcons must go aggressive through the remainder of the draft to fill needs. While offensive tackle isn't a pressing need, it is still a position the Falcons must address. By taking Roger Rosengarten, the Falcons add depth this year and a starter in 2025 after moving on from Kaleb McGary. Rosengarten is an unconventional pick here with edge and receiver still left untouched, but one that will benefit the Falcons in the long run.

McGary has long been criticized by fans and analysts for his mediocre pass blocking. As a typical right tackle, his run blocking made up for it, but with Michael Penix being a left-handed quarterback, having McGary as the blindside blocker would be GM malpractice by Terry Fontenot. Rosengarten was Penix's blindside tackle for two seasons at Washington. At 6'5" 308lbs, Rosengarten is a very large tone-setter capable of handling power rushers, and with a 4.6-second shuttle and 1.73u second 10-yard split, he has the explosiveness and first-step speed to engage with speed rushers, something McGary is ill-equipped for.

Where is the edge rusher?

As you might have noticed, the Falcons have gone through round three in this mock without drafting a pass rusher, be it an interior defensive lineman or a guy on the edge. Atlanta also has yet to select a receiver in the draft, leaving some to wonder when that gets addressed. In the two trades, the Falcons got back a fourth and sixth-round pick, leaving them with two fourth-round picks and three sixth-round picks.

It can be assumed the fourth-rounders will be split on edge rusher and receiver, with the sixth-rounders either used to trade up or select more depth/rotational pieces on the defensive line. Regardless, in this mock, I also have the Falcons doing whatever it takes after the draft's conclusion to trade for Bengals edge rusher Trey Hendrickson, whom Terry Fontenot drafted during his time in New Orleans before playing with now-Falcons safety Jessie Bates in Cincinnati.