Penix named biggest gamble and worst-case scenario of Falcons offseason

Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout
Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Atlanta Falcons kicked off Sports Illustrated of 32 teams in 32 days. Within that article, Michael Penix Jr. caught two interesting headlines. The first was being named Atlanta's biggest risk of the offseason.

It isn't exactly a hot take to suggest that the selection of Penix is risky. Your team made a win-now move by signing Kirk Cousins and could have added another weapon or pass rusher. Drafting Penix is spending the 8th overall pick on a two-year investment. Best case scenario for the Falcons is Penix develops and is a franchise quarterback before the final year of Kirk's deal.

Penix Jr. being named Atlanta's worst-case scenario is harsh but fair

The second headline that Penix catches is the suggestion that the worst-case scenario for Atlanta is Cousins not being ready for the season. Penix being put into the starting lineup would put far more pressure on the defense and could end Atlanta's season early.

While this might seem to be an overreaction let's consider this take fully. The first reason that this is the correct way to look at it is how Atlanta's season starts. It is a brutal five-week stretch that Atlanta needs Kirk Cousins to be ready for. Starting a rookie quarterback against the Eagles' defense or to match up with Patrick Mahomes is less than ideal.

Just as you don't want a rookie's first start to come against T.J. Watt and a good Pittsburgh defense, Atlanta surviving the first five weeks of the season is key to their playoff hopes. Surviving this stretch is unlikely if Penix was forced into the lineup.

This brings us to the second reason that this makes sense, Penix needs time on the bench. There are valid reasons that quarterback-hungry teams didn't trade up for Penix and that three teams selected other prospects at the position first.

Penix needs improvement catching up to the speed of the league and on touch passes. He can throw a beautiful deep ball, it is the easy layups that Penix needs to improve. That will come with coaching and time spent on the bench.

Throwing the rookie into the fire right away is unlikely to end well for the Falcons. To believe Penix is both the biggest risk of the offseason and Atlanta needs a healthy Cousins to survive the first five weeks is the right take.

Considering all of this, it makes the selection of Penix continue to age poorly for a team that could have used a contributor in a number of position groups with the 8th overall pick.