3 best moves by the Falcons in the 2024 NFL Draft

The 2024 NFL Draft is done and over now, but it’s never too late to dissect each and every pick teams like the Atlanta Falcons made.

3 best moves by the Falcons in the 2024 NFL Draft

In total, the Falcons walked out of Detroit, Michigan, the site of this year’s draft, with eight new players to add to their roster for the upcoming 2024 season. That’s eight players that general manager Terry Fontenot and new head coach Raheem Morris felt were the right players available to make this the best team possible moving forward.Some are questioning if this was really the best eight that Fontenot and Morris could put together. This duo’s decision-making was quickly put under a microscope after what they did in the 2024 NFL Draft after just the first round. But it can’t all be bad, right? There had to be some good that came out of all this. Here, we’ll look at three of the best moves the Falcons made in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Drafting Michael Penix Jr. No. 8 overall

Apr 26, 2024; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons first round draft pick quarterback Michael Penix Jr talks to the media at a press conference introducing him at the Falcons training complex.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, you read that right. This is the most perplexing, polarizing draft pick in a long time, if not ever in the history of the event. I’ve written about it in nearly every way imaginable and still don’t truly know what side of the fence I’m on. Penix is somehow simultaneously the best and worst pick for the Falcons in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Being the worst pick is obvious: the Falcons didn’t need Penix and could have drafted someone else to help make them a contender. Signing free agent Kirk Cousins essentially gave Atlanta free rein to do whatever they wanted to do and address any need they felt needed attention. Yet, they still drafted a quarterback to back up Cousins. Plus, Cousins’ entire reason for signing with the Falcons seemed to be that they weren’t going to go after a quarterback in the draft like his previous team, the Minnesota Vikings, let be known they were going to do.

However, the fortitude Fontenot and Morris showed to look ahead and even hedge their bets on the future can’t go unnoticed, even if it does seem ludicrous at first glance. The NFL is a league that thrives on quarterback play. The Falcons haven’t known that for some time, and if not for Matt Ryan, wouldn’t know that at all in the last quarter of a century.

We can make all the uneducated guesses we want about this Falcons move. But the fact of the matter is, it’s unprecedented with nothing to base its level of success on. What makes this a positive move for Atlanta is the fact that due to Penix’s wealth of experience in college, he could be called upon at any time. The league was full of injuries to starting quarterbacks last season, and Cousins, who will be 36 at the start of the season, is coming off a major Achilles injury.

Drafting edge rusher Bralen Trice No. 74 overall

The Penix pick obviously had major impacts on every pick the Falcons made thereafter. Atlanta was in line to draft one of the talented pass rushers in the first round, either Dallas Turner, Laiatu Latu, or another, and chose to go the route they did. That still didn’t change the fact they needed some pass rush help, seeing as how they’ve continued to avoid that in the last several drafts. They waited until the third round to select Washington’s Bralen Trice.

Trice is significant because the Falcons waited all the way to the third round to draft him. But it was also their second third-round pick, so they kind of had the luxury to do so. What also makes this a good move is the fact that there is some familiarity here with the new coaching staff.

New defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake was the head coach at Washington when Trice was recruited there, according to ESPN. Helping put a new defensive system in place while having some familiarity will be good for both parties.

Getting Brandon Dorlus in the fourth round

It seems like it took until the Falcons’ fourth-round pick for critics to acknowledge their draft prowess. Most draft analysts, like those from Pro Football Focus, believe that defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus out of Oregon was one of the bigger steals of the entire draft.

PFF had Dorlus as a Day 2 prospect but noted how the former Duck offered a “ton of juice as a pass rusher.” In his final season in Eugene, he led the team in sacks with five, racked up 46 total pressures, 11 quarterback hits, and had a pass-rush grade of 75.7.

Adding Dorlus on the line with Trice, along with their other draft pieces, and not to mention the already talented Grady Jarrett, could make the Falcons nasty up front in the future.

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