Here's Why the Falcons Drafting Michael Penix Jr. Was Even More Surprising

The quarterback did not take a top-30 visit with the team.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

The Atlanta Falcons selecting Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth pick in the NFL draft was the most surprising decision of Thursday night's first round, considering that the ink is barely dry on Kirk Cousins' expensive new contract. Which is not a knock on Penix, who was otherwordly for Washington last season and throws one of the prettiest deep balls a person could ever hope to see. It's going to be incredibly interesting to watch that quarterback dynamic and eventually find out if stashing a future signalcaller away until he's 26 or 27 years-old proves to be beneficial.

Search far and wide and you'd still be hard-pressed to find any mock drafter out there who foresaw this possibility. The Cousins situation is the main reason, but another thing that made it so unexpected was that Penix did not take a top-30 visit to the Falcons' facility and the team's contact with him was not particularly extensive.

There's already some very boring discussion about ethics in top-30 visiting afoot because it does seem weird that the team taking the biggest leap on Day 1 didn't even have their desired target among its list of casual interests. But honestly, it doesn't seem all that crazy.

Penix has been one of the most exciting quarterback prospects since he was playing at Indiana and he had a Heisman campaign last season that brought him into the College Football Playoff. So it's not like one individual workout should sway years and years of tape too much. On the other hand, it's the draft and there does seem to be tendency for all involved to lean into recency bias.

So we just have to sit back and wait, in all likelihood for multiple years, for the doubters or the Falcons to claim vindication.

Kyle K