In my 11 years of actually following the draft for my yearly little project, this is by far the strangest pick I’d ever witnessed. Some picks are bad at the time and never end up good, like Daniel Jones! Some picks are bad in hindsight, like Trey Lance. Some picks are just clear reaches, when a team overdrafts a guy they could have had a round later. I’ve never seen a pick that felt like it just didn’t make any sense before. None of this confusion or criticism that the Falcons are getting is about Penix the prospect. I think if a number of other teams (Like, the Vikings or Broncos) had taken Penix at 8 nobody would be all that bothered. But the Falcons? What the fuck?

The next morning when I logged into my day job slack my ATL co-worker said the Falcons “got the steal of the draft”. I choked on the water I was sipping and had to stand up and pace around the office for a second. Firstly, overdrafting a mid-first round at best-rated QB with the 8th overall pick when you already had a QB that you paid big bucks on the roster is the opposite of a steal. It’s a luxury pick reach. You know who got a steal? The Bears, when Odunze fell to them at 9. Or the Colts, who got to pick the first defender off the board at pick 15.

Over the course of the next hour the discussion between that co-worker and several of us went as expected if you read any of the discourse following the pick. There are many different justifications for it, but they all sort of require you to deliberately place the pick in a certain light, to ignore the very obvious nonsense in front of you. To rationalize it as hard as possible away from being the very obvious bonkers choice it was. So let’s attack some of these arguments starting with the big question everyone was asking themselves when it happened. Why did the Falcons break the bank for Kirk Cousins 2 months ago to presumably be the starting QB and then immediately draft his replacement with the 8th overall pick? What the fuck? What on earth is the goal here?

The goal is to have Kirk’s replacement immediately ready to go once Kirk’s time is up.
Okay…other teams have drafted QBs to sit behind their current starter while they wait in line for the throne. It has worked out, in the case of Patrick Mahomes and Jordan Love, and did not work out in the case of Trey Lance. But there are differences here. One, Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith, a player who had been on the Chiefs for several years already and was getting up there in age, and didn’t appear to be the guy. Jordan Love was a massive project who was never expected to start right off the bat, and more importantly, the Packers only picked him back at pick 22. Trey Lance was expected to take over for Garoppolo, who had clearly reached his ceiling. Even Daniel Jones got drafted while Eli was still on the roster. But The Falcons are not gearing up to replace an old hat like Rodgers or Smith or Eli. They just signed Kirk Cousins. They probably tampered to get him and will probably get punished for it!

They went all in on Kirk Cousins, giving him a massive 90 million guaranteed for at least two years. What kind of a message does this send to Kirk? He was given the keys and then right in front of him they handed a second set of keys to the hottie there to take his job at any second. I wonder how that makes him feel? It can’t be good! Kirk’s actually been in this situation in reverse, when he was drafted in the 4th behind RG3. He was confused then, going to a team that seemed like it half believed in him, and now after he felt like he found a home to finish his career, the Falcons instantly undermine that trust and spend what could have been a very valuble pick on someone to help Kirk win now on the very player waiting on Kirk’s ending.

Kirk is coming off an Achilles tear and is 35 years old, and he needs a backup
True! Kirk is old and coming off a traditionally very devastating injury. It is not out of possibility that Penix will start a game or more in the next two years. Then why on earth did the Falcons go out, tamper, and then give Cousins a hefty bag of at least 90 million guaranteed dollars? Why shell out for a guy you expect to not be ready and need a backup for? No, that’s the kind of money you give a guy you expect to start. Signing Kirk was a win-now move. The Falcons are in a weak division and not far away from competing, QB was the biggest need they had.

Drafting Penix was not a win-now move, it was a future planning move. These two moves do not work together. They feel like different philosophies clashing. The Patriots entire offseason has been future planning in a way that makes sense. Sign a journeyman (Brissett) to carry the team for now but who is clearly not the future, and groom his successor on the bench with Maye. If you want to set yourselves up for the future, don’t shell out 90 million dollars against the cap for 2 years for a franchise level QB. If you want to win now while the division window is open, don’t waste the 8th overall pick on a player you expect nothing meaningful from for at least 2 seasons. What the fuck are the Falcons doing?

Also, as far as injury concerns go, let’s not forget that injury history was literally Penix’s main red flag.

The Falcons wont have an opportunity to draft this high again so they have to get their guy now
This was the argument straight from the GM’s mouth in the post-draft presser. That feels like cope to me. I really have to wonder when they fell in love with Penix during the draft process. It feels almost like they went all in on Kirk Cousins and then fell in love with Penix somehow and changed plans. They didn’t seem to be in on Penix during the draft process. They didn’t work him out like other teams did. They didn’t seem to show much interest. Nobody had the Falcons taking Penix, most people had them taking a defender or trading down. Penix himself didn’t seem to expect it either. If they knew they wanted Penix from early on, the Kirk deal was very stupid. If they decided they wanted Penix much later in the process then you have to wonder if the team actually has a good plan in place at all if they can just make wild changes at a whim.

No one will care if Penix ends up good
This is the truest cope of any fan after their team makes a questionable draft pick. Because it’s true. If Penix turns into a star, then this move was a good decision in the end and all of us chucklefucks are idiots. I liked Penix as a prospect. I wanted the Giants to draft him! I think he’s pro-ready and that his age is not as big a deal as many have made it out to be. Of course, if Penix ends up good, the Kirk deal looks dumber because you had Penix right there at the start. If Penix is pro-ready and age doesn’t mean much, why is he sitting on the bench like a developmental prospect? By the time the Falcons can move on from Kirk, he will be at least 26. Not to mention the fact that the rookie QB salary is one of the most valuable salaries in the sport. Half of Penix’s cheap rookie contract will be wasted while paying Kirk Cousins instead.

No matter how this turns out this move was extremely weird and caught us all off-guard for a reason. The Falcons (probably) tampered to get Kirk Cousins on their roster and may suffer punishment for it, shelled out a huge bag for him, and then turned around and immediately drafted his successor before Kirk had even put on the uniform. It’s hard to look at that right now and not wonder what the fuck the Falcons were thinking. If it works out good for them. If it doesn’t, this goes down as an all-timer blunder.


How did your team do this draft? I give the Giants draft a B-. I like it less the more I think about it. We bought a sports car for our offense that’s driven by a ford pinto. We stocked up on secondary help (which we needed) but then drafted a TE to presumably replace the likely retiring Waller and then some depth picks. No investment in the trenches at all and it looks like Daniel Jones is the guy again. Maybe the 6th year will work out? Maybe the 7th? Am I doomed to watch Daniel Jones for eternity? At least the Falcons have quarterbacks worth liking.