Will Falcons’ Michael Penix Jr. Start In 2024-25?

  • The Atlanta Falcons selected quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.
  • Online bookies favor Penix Jr. starting at least one game in the 2024-25 season.
  • Odds heavily favored Penix Jr. being drafted outside of the top 10.

Michael Penix Jr. is more likely than not to start a game for the Atlanta Falcons in his rookie season. This is according to online bookmaker BetOnline, who has Penix Jr. listed as a -130 favorite to start at least one game in the 2024-25 regular season.

Given these odds, Penix Jr. has an implied probability of 56.5% to receive the green light from head coach Raheem Morris. The Falcons drafted the 23-year-old quarterback with the No. 8 overall selection of the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit on Thursday night.

The Washington Huskies star was one of the most exciting football players in college football this past season. Penix Jr. passed for 4,903 yards, 31 yards, and 11 interceptions in his final collegiate campaign.

The dynamic QB played four years in the Big Ten for the Indiana Hoosiers before transferring to Washington for his final two seasons. Penix Jr. spearheaded the Huskies run to the College Football Playoff Championship in January.

The Falcons saw enough in Penix Jr. to make him the 8th overall pick despite signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract. Falcons’ GM Terry Fontenot went from not having a quarterback to possibly having two options under center.

Falcons Shock With Penix Jr. Pick

Mock drafts from NFL pundits did not have the Falcons selecting Penix Jr. In fact, Penix Jr. was not expected to go in the top 10 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

The 23-year-old native of Tampa, FL, had long odds of having a team call his name in the top 10. Penix Jr.’s top-10 odds closed at +750! In short, he had an implied probability of 11.8% to go off the board at No. 1 to No. 10.

The odds of the Falcons drafting Penix Jr. seemed even more impossible. At +10000, the likelihood of the Falcons drafting the Washington quarterback was just 1%!

Nevertheless, Fontenot was undeterred by the team’s needs on defense or a wide receiver for Cousins. NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. did not like the Penix Jr. pick and would have preferred the Falcons address their defense.

“Look, we can debate Michael Penix’s talent all we want, but the Falcons had a chance to improve their defense with the best prospects still on the board and didn’t take it. Instead, they chose a quarterback to sit behind a guy to whom they just gave $100 million guaranteed. I just don’t get the logic here, and it’s not like Penix is raw, either. He turns 24 in May and has played a ton of football. It was one of the most shocking picks I can remember in Round 1.”

If Cousins remains healthy and plays out the full four years of his contract, Penix Jr. will be in his late 20s before taking over the starting role. Drafting a quarterback to play behind Aaron Rodgers worked out for the Green Bay Packers.

However, Jordan Love was two years younger, and the Packers selected him at No. 26 — less of a gamble than No. 8.

Falcons Want To Avoid ‘QB Purgatory’

The Falcons have missed the playoffs for six straight seasons. The Falcons have been in disarray since blowing a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

Longtime Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan played his final snap for the organization in 2021. They drafted Ryan’s potential replacement with Desmond Ridder in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Ridder looked overwhelmed and is now with the Arizona Cardinals. The Falcons wanted to make sure that they don’t have any quarterback drama for the foreseeable future, according to GM Fontenot.

“We do something else right here, and then we win for the next few seasons and then Kirk decides to hang up his cleats, whenever that is, then Michael Penix if somewhere playing at a really high level and we’re in quarterback purgatory, we don’t have a quarterback,” Fontenet said, per SI’s Albert Breer.

Cousins is coming off an ACL injury suffered in Week 8 of the 2023 NFL season. His rehab progress has reportedly gone well, but Penix Jr. will see a healthy dose of first-team reps in training camp. So far Cousins has not commented publicly on the team drafting Penix Jr.

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Kyle Eve
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Kyle Eve is a seasoned pro of The Sports Geek. Since joining the team in 2012, Kyle, has covered some of the biggest sporting events in the world. From the Super Bowl and World Series to March Madness, the NBA Finals, Kentucky Derby, and many more, Kyle has provided reliable analysis for millions of readers. After dedicating himself to hockey and football in high school, Kyle placed his first sports bet on his 18th birthday. Since then, he has spent his entire adult life devoting himself to becoming the best sports bettor and casino gambler possible. Kyle is from Windsor, ON, Canada

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