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Report reveals how Falcons owner felt about drafting Michael Penix Jr.

Michael Penix Jr celebrates a win

Sep 3, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) raises his helmet before kickoff against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

There have been a lot of questions about whether Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was in favor of drafting a quarterback in the first round after spending huge money on one in free agency, and it appears we now have an answer.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote on Monday that Blank “loomed large” in Atlanta’s decision to draft Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 overall pick. While the Falcons were confident enough in Kirk Cousins to give the veteran $100 million guaranteed over the next two seasons, Blank was in favor of investing significant draft capital in a succession plan.

As Fowler put it, Blank “fully endorsed long-term stability at the position, which Kirk Cousins, at age 35, cannot satisfy to the same degree.” The ESPN reporter also noted that Blank does not want a quarterback carousel after the franchise had consistency at the position for so many years with Matt Ryan and even Michael Vick.

Cousins probably feels differently about the situation. Had the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback known the Falcons were going to use the No. 8 overall pick on his eventual replacement, Cousins probably would have preferred to remain with the Minnesota Vikings. He may have even left the Vikings in part because of their draft plans.

Penix has virtually no shot of entering 2024 as Atlanta’s starting quarterback, but anything could happen beyond that. If Cousins struggles early in the season, fans — and possibly Falcons players — are going to want to give the young superstar quarterback a shot. Even if Blank signed off on creating that scenario, Cousins probably is not thrilled about it.

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