“This Is More The Norm Than The Exception” – Kirk Cousins Finally (With Class) Speaks On Falcons Drafting Michael Penix Jr

Kirk Cousins
Atlanta Falcons

It’s still hard to believe that the Atlanta Falcons guaranteed Kirk Cousins nine figures of real-life money, only to select his eventual replacement Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. They could’ve drafted a dynamic edge rusher like UCLA’s Laiatu Latu, who didn’t go off the board till the 15th pick to Indianapolis. Another good cornerback opposite AJ Terrell would’ve helped Atlanta’s defense, too. Toledo corner Quinyon Mitchell waited till the Eagles got him at pick 22.

Instead, the Falcons are playing the long game to end all long games and probably messing with Captain Kirk’s head in the process. He’s already dealing with the adversity of fully recovering from a torn Achilles, acclimating to a new team, establishing himself as the leader of the locker room, and dealing with expectations as the heavy NFC South favorite. Quite a tall order. Good thing Cousins is accustomed to this sort of thing. After all, he entered the NFL in 2012 as a second-string, fourth-round pick behind No. 2 overall selection Robert Griffin III.

That was the message Cousins more or less drove home while addressing the media on Tuesday. He explained how draft night went down, and seemed to have excellent perspective on the move to acquire Penix. He even laid down a fun fact about his college days at Michigan State that I had zero awareness of.

“It’s similar to the call that Mark Dantonio made to me in 2007. He said, Hey we’re gonna offer another quarterback. I know you’ve signed. Nick Foles. You guys are gonna have to compete.’ And it’s like OK, let’s take the next step…

This is more than norm than the exception. And I think the response is that this is the exception, when really, if you know my story, you know this is more the norm of the journey.

And it’s more of OK, you know, let’s let’s just start working and start building together.”

This came on the heels of an appearance on the Bussin’ With The Boys podcast, where Cousins said it’s “not a foreign concept” that something shocking happens in the NFL. He spoke about not being concerned with things that are out of his control.

The decision to draft Penix firmly falls into that category.

Cousins had to be more than a little taken aback in real time when he got a last-minute phone call and zero heads-up prior to Penix getting picked. This was confirmed by Cousins’ agent. You can’t tell me, despite all that he’s been through in his career, that it didn’t really sting a great deal.

It’s just such a weird tone to set right out of the gates. In looking over GM Terry Fontenot’s resume, I’m starting to wonder a little. He was the Saints’ director of pro scouting from 2013 through 2019. Did they nail a lot of free-agent signings in that span? I feel like they have salary cap issues out the wazoo every single year because of how they paid so much for aging veterans. Fontenot was instrumental in building that whole foundation, was he not?

The Falcons haven’t drafted terribly well since Fontenot took over, either. Finding Tyler Allgeier in the fifth round in 2022 was a nice hit, but then to draft another running back in Bijan Robinson at eighth overall, with Allgeier coming off an 1,100-yard rookie season? Questionable allocation of resources if you ask me. Just look at their other drafts since Fontenot came aboard in 2021. Not great, Bob!

So you have a longtime pro scouting director who kind of coasted on the greatness of Drew Brees — signed as a free agent in 2006, well before Fontenot took his pro scouting director post in 2013 — and now a dubious draft record in Atlanta thus far. In other words, main point, bottom line, etc: Should we really trust that Terry Fontenot made the right call here with the Cousins-Penix plan? I would say history tells us no!

Having said all of that, I’m fully onboard with the Falcons’ plan to sign Cousins. They had to upgrade that position in a major way and did so. But then it was as if Fontenot said, “You thought it was weird when we spent the eighth pick on Bijan despite Allgeier’s excellent rookie campaign? Watch THIS!”

WTF, mate? WTF?

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