Falcons stun Cousins, NFL, take Michael Penix Jr 8th Overall

The Falcons shocked the NFL world taking the Washington gun slinger at 8. Is it the right move? Only time will tell.
The Falcons shocked the NFL world taking the Washington gun slinger at 8. Is it the right move? Only time will tell. / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Terry Fontenot, Arthur Blank, and Raheem Morris just pulled the biggest draft day surprise in Falcons history. After giving Kirk Cousins $100M guaranteed, they selected Washington  QB Michael Penix 8th overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. 

Per Cousins’ agent, Mike McCartney, the first they heard of this while the team was on the clock. There have been rumblings of frustration within Cousins’ camp, due to the Falcons not taking a player to help make the team better in 2024. Fans throughout the internet were highly upset with the pick as well, yet Penix remains a great player to have in-house for the Falcons. 

Within the Falcons franchise, it’s been reported that Arthur Blank himself wanted a succession plan behind Kirk Cousins, which was the motivation for the shocking pick early in the draft. Taking a guy like Penix can give Blank just that, a high end, young Quarterback who can sit behind Kirk and iron out some of the flaws in his game, similar to the Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rogers path. 

Penix was 2nd in Heisman trophy voting in 2023, along with a National Championship appearance with the Washington Huskies. Penix faced a large amount of adversity during his collegiate career, starting at Indiana where he tore the same ACL in both 2018 and 2020. Following his career at Indiana, where he went 12-5 as a two-time captain, Michael would set the record books ablaze in Washington. He was the #1 player in NCAA football with 357 passing yards a game in 2022, the leader in FBS in passing yards and passing yards per game, and the Maxwell Award winner as the nation’s most outstanding player. The talent, and accolades, leave little to be questioned about how much of an impact he made at the collegiate level. 

It remains to be seen what Terry Fontenot and company plan to do on the defensive side of the ball because it was the main concern being voiced by NFL pundits the entire process. There was even smoke of the Falcons taking Byron Murphy at 8th overall. Team fits like Kool Aid McKinstry, Cooper DeJean, Johnny Newton, and Braeden Fisk remain on the board if Atlanta decides to move up and get a defensive player. We’ve been surprised already, so let’s see how this will play out through the rest of the draft for the Falcons.