2024 NFL Draft grades: Atlanta Falcons' shocking Penix pick overshadows everything else

Baffling. Pretty baffling use of the eighth overall pick. After signing Kirk Cousins, it was a bit of a shocker for the Falcons to use the pick on a backup quarterback rather than take someone who can play this year. Unless the Cousins signing is a total disaster, it will be years before the Falcons see Michael Penix Jr. on the field. This team is not ready for a resource allocation like that. The Falcons also failed to grab a cornerback in this draft, but they made some very solid picks along the defensive line that should help them finally stabilize that position group. The defensive line picks are the only thing keeping this from being an F grade.

Dorlus might be a steal for the Falcons, giving them pass rush versatility on the inside. He can play all over the defensive line and many projections had him going much higher than this. Dorlus is an explosive athlete who might be able to play a big role in the Falcons’ new defense as a rookie. Great pick up for the Falcons that may have saved their draft class.

Beyond the resource allocation that will have a 7-10 team sitting a top-10 pick on the bench for multiple seasons, it’s fair to question if Penix was really worth this pick. He played six seasons in college with multiple season-ending injuries, but caught fire for Washington over the past two seasons. Penix was also fortunate enough to play on an offense that put two tackles and three wide receivers into the draft, including two first-rounders (Rome Odunze and Troy Fautanu). Penix is going to have to become more consistently accurate to be worth this pick and become a more dynamic playmaker when things break down around him. He has some nice traits, like a strong arm and accuracy down the sidelines, but it’s fair to be wary of a prospect profile that doesn’t have a huge track record of NFL success.

Round 1, Pick 8: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Round 2, Pick 35: Ruke Orhorhoro, DL, Clemson
Round 3, Pick 74: Bralen Trice, Edge, Washington
Round 4, Pick 109: Brandon Dorlus, DL, Oregon
Round 5, Pick 143: JD Bertrand, LB, Notre Dame
Round 6, Pick 186: Jase McClellan, RB, Alabama
Round 6, Pick 187: Casey Washington, WR, Illinois
Round 6, Pick 197: Zion Logue, DL, Georgia