Atlanta Falcons Tied to Former Huskies Quarterback in NFL Draft

Despite securing Kirk Cousins with a lucrative four-year, $180 million deal this spring, the Atlanta Falcons once again find themselves embroiled in quarterback discussions as the NFL Draft approaches.

Questions loom over the team regarding the future of the quarterback position, and former University of Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. emerges as a potential solution.

The Falcons have extensively evaluated Penix during the pre-draft period, including a formal meeting at the NFL Combine, sending assistant general manager Kyle Smith to the Huskies’ pro day, and arranging a private workout with head coach Raheem Morris, general manager Terry Fontenot, and others from the Falcons’ staff in Washington.

Penix and former University of South Carolina standout Spencer Rattler are the two quarterbacks who have garnered significant attention from the Falcons this spring. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Atlanta may have its sights set on selecting a quarterback early, with Penix being a particular target.

Fowler stated on SportsCenter, “The Falcons are certainly considering selecting a quarterback at some point in the draft. GM Terry Fontenot did not draft a quarterback in the first two rounds in his first three drafts. However, they have spent considerable time with Michael Penix Jr., which is intriguing.”

While the Falcons drafted Desmond Ridder in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Fontenot’s only quarterback selection thus far, there is speculation that Penix could break this pattern, possibly influenced by the Falcons’ substantial effort, including a five-hour flight to observe Penix’s passing session to Washington receiver Ja’Lynn Polk and tight end Jack Westover.

Fowler added, “When they visited him in Seattle in early April, they flew all the way just to watch him throw for a few hours and turned around and went home. That indicated significant interest. Now, the No. 8 overall pick may be too high for Penix, but he may not be available when they pick 43rd overall in the second round.”

Fontenot and Morris have both indicated that the Falcons will add a third quarterback this offseason, with the draft being a probable avenue.

Despite Cousins being established as the starter and Taylor Heinicke signed as the backup, Atlanta seeks a No. 3 quarterback. However, this doesn’t align with the expectations of a team in a win-now position, particularly with a top-10 pick.

Fowler commented, “Will they select a quarterback at some point? Perhaps. However, opting for a pass rusher might be the safer choice with the No. 8 overall pick.”

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