NFL World Floored by Falcons Taking Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 in NFL Draft

Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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On March 13, the Atlanta Falcons inked quarterback Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract. The signing appeared to put the Falcons' quarterback situation to bed for the foreseeable future...

... until Thursday evening.

In a move that dropped every jaw in Detroit—and millions more watching on television, especially in Georgia—the Falcons drafted Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick.

Penix had a special college career, finishing in the top 10 in the Heisman voting in both his seasons with the Huskies. However, he tore his ACL twice at Indiana, and speculation abounded that his medicals would spook NFL suitors.

When reports of Penix's selection first emerged, some wondered if they'd been had.

Many noted Cousins's poor luck, especially a season after tearing an Achilles tendon.

Penix's advanced age was also a topic of discussion.

Fans wondered whether Penix was caught off guard as well.

Eras of the NFL come and go, but Atlanta—nearly six decades into its existence—remains a mystery.

Patrick Andres


Patrick Andres has been a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated since 2022. Before SI, his work appeared in The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword, and Diamond Digest. Patrick has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.