Dan Orlovsky on Falcons’ Shocking Selection of Michael Penix Jr. — ‘Not Only Do I Love the Pick, I Totally Understand It’

Dan Orlovsky was initially confused by the Falcons' decision to take Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 but later changed his stance and has come around to the pick.

The Atlanta Falcons shocked the NFL world when they selected Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick on Thursday night.

The NFC South franchise pulled the stunner of the night by snatching Penix and erasing any thoughts of Atlanta moving down for more capital or going with defense to start the Raheem Morris era. The Penix move sparked notable strong reactions and criticism, but former QB and ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky was complimentary of the choice after initially being critical.

Dan Orlovsky Has Change of Heart in Atlanta Falcons’ Decision to Draft Michael Penix Jr.

While most of the top six to seven picks went as predicted, things changed when the Falcons got on the clock.

Many thought they could target the first defensive player off the board, such as CB Quinyon Mitchell, EDGE Dallas Turner, or another player.

After the Falcons selected the Washington quarterback on Thursday night, Orlovsky originally questioned the selection, like most.

“The Penix one is head-scratching to me,” Orlovsky said in a video he posted to his X account. “It’s also not going to help a 36-year-old quarterback win. Here’s the best-case scenario: Kirk Cousins plays there for three years — you just paid him all that money, you want that contract to pay off. Best-case scenario: Michael Penix plays sooner rather than later. Those two things can’t happen at the same time.”

Orlovsky found a different perspective between Thursday evening and Friday morning regarding the Falcons’ pick. The former NFL QB apparently had a revelation.

“When the draft happened last night, [I was] unbelievably perplexed by this pick,” Orlovsky said. “And then I went to bed, and I thought about it a little bit more. And then I had some insight shared, and not only do I love the pick, I totally understand it.”

Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Raheem Morris addressed reporters in Atlanta following the selection and noted the pick wasn’t made for now but rather for the future because they aren’t aiming to be drafting in the top 10 again.

“You don’t pass up that opportunity,” Fontenot said. “Kirk Cousins is our quarterback. … With Michael Penix, we’re thinking about the future.”

Orlovsky went on to explain how the Falcons’ decision is smart in preparation for the future.

“Atlanta’s perspective — hear me out — No. 1, they had Michael Penix as the second-best quarterback in this draft attached to Jayden Daniels,” Orlovsky said. “No. 2, they expect to be very good with Kirk Cousins over the next couple of years. And in experience last night, realizing how expensive it is to get up in the draft when you are back-half like that and go get a quarterback, they realized it’s going to be too expensive.”

Orlovsky also shared that individuals within the Falcons left a pre-draft workout comparing Penix to Los Angeles Rams star Matthew Stafford.

“You don’t take a quarterback in the top 10 unless your owner is not only on board with it [but] wants it,” Orlovsky continued. “I completely understand the thought process by Atlanta now. I understand the viewpoint of who they got in Michael Penix. And I actually think it’s very smart for them to prepare for — in two years, there is no development needed.”

Penix will turn 24 years old later this offseason, and if he sits behind Cousins for three to four years, he will start for the first time at 27 or 28 years old. He also suffered four separate season-ending injuries during his collegiate career.

The Falcons will be on the clock once again on Day 2, holding the 43rd overall pick in the second round and two third-round picks, Nos. 74 and 79. They also have four picks on Day 3.

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