Falcons 2024 draft grades roll in, and they’re not extremely positive

The Falcons had a draft class that flew in the face of expectations, and the grades reflect that.

You can’t properly grade an NFL Draft, if that’s something you’re even interested in doing, until two, three, or even four years after it happens. Unless a class is wildly and immediately successful or a spectacular failure right out of the gate, grades are just a reflection of how fans, analysts, and the like feel in the immediate aftermath of the draft. Often, those grades are reflective of how a team does versus expectations.

By that metric, the Falcons were disappointing. I’ll write more about this later, but few teams strayed further from consensus than Atlanta, and that led to most of their picks being considered reaches by analysts. The grades you’re going to see below are reflective of that; in the case of fans here at The Falcoholic, they’re perhaps reflective of that and partially based on disappointment with the players the team didn’t pick, as well as the top ten quarterback and the second round trade up.

Let’s get to them, so we can re-visit this a few years down the line to shake our heads or nod. I’ll add to the list as new grades come in today.

The Falcoholic’s readers: C (but you can still vote!)

Pro Football Focus: C-

For a pick-by-pick writeup, visit their site.

Sports Illustrated: A

Matt Verderame: Call me crazy, but I’m a huge fan of the Penix pick. The quarterback landscape could be great in two years. It could be barren. But if the Falcons are truly building toward the future, why not make the inevitable transition easy. I think there’s a lot of pro-Kirk Cousins sentiment out there, but Cousins will be 36 in August and is coming off an Achilles injury. He has also never reached a conference title game, so it was time to explore all options.

Sporting News: C-

Vinny Iyer: GM Terry Fontenot got plenty of heat from every direction for taking Penix in the top 10 after the team committed big money to Kirk Cousins. Penix’s big arm is a good fit in the new passing offense, but the Falcons left a lot of elite, impact talent on the board as part of the opportunity cost. Not surprisingly, they chased that misstep by going defense-heavy for new coach Raheem Morris. McClellan and Washington were real offensive reaches on Day 3.

Washington Post: D

Mark Maske: It’s not that Michael Penix Jr. is not an excellent QB prospect, arguably worthy of being the No. 8 overall pick. He is. It’s that the Falcons gave Kirk Cousins a four-year, $180 million deal in free agency, a move indicative of an attempt to be an immediate contender. The Falcons needed to add an excellent player at another position to improve Cousins’s chances — and theirs — of succeeding. There was no rush to put his eventual successor in place before he even played his first game for the team. The rule in the NFL is that if you don’t have a franchise QB, you need to do all that you can to try to get one. But you don’t need to do all that you can to try to get two.

Associated Press: C-

Rob Maaddi: QB Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 was the most stunning pick of the draft because Kirk Cousins just received $100 million guaranteed. DL Ruke Orhorhor (35) and DE Bralen Trice (74) bolster the defense. Reached on some of their Day 3 picks after starting strong with DL Brandon Dorlus in the fourth round.

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