The Atlanta Falcons selected Washington QB Michael Penix Jr with the eight overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft Photo Credit: NFL Network

The Atlanta Falcons shook up the NFL Draft Thursday night, selecting Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

It was unclear what the Falcons planned to do with the eighth pick before Roger Goodell made the announcement. Still, a quarterback was certainly not on anyone’s radar after they made a massive free-agency splash by signing Kirk Cousins.

As noted, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport pointed out that despite signing Cousins, taking Penix was “all about succession at the most important position.”

According to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah though, Cousins was surprised by the pick.

“I just reached out to his agent, Mike McCartney, he was not given a heads up. Kirk Cousins was not given really a heads up on this whole thing,” Jeremiah said.

Presumably, Cousins will come around on the plan once the initial shock wears off, though it will be interesting to see if Atlanta plans to keep Penix as the backup for the next two seasons or if new Falcons coach Raheem Morris will make a switch to Penix at some point sooner. Once you make that switch, you can’t exactly switch back.

Penix started his college career with the Indiana Hoosiers. He spent four seasons there and threw for 4,197 yards and 29 touchdowns, the tenth-most in school history.

In 2022, Penix transferred to Washington and turned into one of college football’s elite players. In his two years with the Huskies, he threw for 9,544 yards, and is the only player in program history to throw for 4,000 yards twice. Penix also threw 67 touchdowns in his two seasons, which is third-most in school history. He’s the only Washington quarterback with multiple 30+ touchdown seasons.

Social media had a lot to say about the shocking pick.

Photo Credit: NFL Network