Doing The Math On The Strange, Puzzling Choice By The Atlanta Falcons To Draft Michael Penix Jr. 8th Overall

Penix Jr. Atlanta draft

If you do the NFL Draft right, you shouldn’t shock anyone when you make your pick.

The Atlanta Falcons floored the rest of the NFL when they drafted quarterback Michael Penix Jr. out of Washington with the 8th overall pick. It wasn’t out of the norm for an NFL team to draft a QB with the deep class that this year offered, but it was weird for a team like the Falcons, who just signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract this offseason.

The draft decision reportedly “blindsided” Kirk Cousins and is camp.

So to translate, the Atlanta Falcons were like, “We just locked up our 35-year-old franchise quarterback with a historic contract for the next four years. Let’s use our top 10 draft pick to pick another quarterback.”

Does it make a lot of sense? No, it doesn’t. Did the Falcons try to save face and explain their decision? Yes, they did. NFL Insider Dianna Russini sent out this explanation as to why the Falcons decided to pull the trigger on Penix with their eighth overall pick:

“Why would Atlanta use their 8th pick in the draft on a QB? The team believes they won’t have a top pick with Cousins under center the next few years, and now is the time to get a great one.”

Interesting logic there…

I guess that’s technically an explanation, but it doesn’t exactly clear things up. I’m assuming that’s what Atlanta decided to go with, because it’s clear that Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot was having to convince owner Arthur Blank it was the right thing to do in this now viral video from their draft war room:


So let’s do the math on this decision shall we? To lay out some groundwork, Kirk Cousins is 35-years-old and is coming off of a season-ending Achilles injury. He signed a four-year contract, which means in theory, Cousins will be the starter in Atlanta (if all goes well) until he’s 39-years-old.

Michael Penix Jr., who many ranked outside the top 5 best QBs in the draft, was chosen with the eighth overall pick. That math doesn’t math right there, if you know what I’m saying. But that’s not the worst math of the entire decision.

Penix Jr., who has an injury history himself, played six years of college football (four at Indiana, two at Washington). He’s currently 23-years-old, which makes him the second-oldest QB drafted in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Bo Nix, who went to the Denver Broncos after seemingly spending a decade playing college ball, is the only older QB.

That means that if everything goes according to plan, a soon to be 24-year-old (Penix’s birthday is in May) will likely be 28-years-old before he would take over the starting position from Kirk Cousins. For reference, Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes is currently 28 and he’s already won three Super Bowls.

And strangely enough, Penix is older than the young core that Atlanta has had on their team for the past two years or so.

Drafting an old-ish college QB with injury history to back up an old NFL QB who is coming off the worst injury of his career? That’s a bold strategy cotton, let’s see if it pays off. With all of the memes social media is putting out there, it seems like most football fans would be perfectly fine with everything not working out in the Falcon’s favor:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock