Falcons fans split on whether Atlanta was a winner in the 2024 NFL Draft

The 2024 NFL Draft has come and gone, and the Atlanta Falcons certainly created a stir in league with their selection of quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at 8. It has since come out that as many as three teams were trying to trade into the top-10 for Penix, per NFL Network’s James Palmer, so perhaps the pick wasn’t the reach that many perceived it to be on the night of the draft. At any rate, the pick itself was shocking given Atlanta’s recent $100M+ investment in Kirk Cousins at the start of free agency.

Falcons fans split on whether Atlanta was a winner in the 2024 NFL Draft
Falcons fans split on whether Atlanta was a winner in the 2024 NFL Draft

Falcons fans were…not complimentary of the decision to draft Penix at 8 immediately following the first round of the draft. A whopping 54% of fans gave the pick an “F”, with another 18% giving the pick a “D”. That’s an overwhelming 72% grading the pick as a failure. Only 6% gave the pick an “A” and 8% a “B”, with 13% giving it a “C”.

There’s a very common psychological phenomena that’s present in pretty much every aspect of life, but seen very clearly in sports and particularly the NFL Draft. That’s the tendency for fans to “come around” on picks or moves their team makes after a short amount of time, even if they were vehemently opposed at first.

For this week’s SB Nation Reacts, we asked Falcons fans if they now view Atlanta as a winner in the 2024 NFL Draft. Let’s see how much opinions have changed in a week’s time.

After an overwhelming majority—72%—graded the Penix pick as a failure just a week ago, Falcons fans are now almost evenly split on whether or not Atlanta was a winner in the 2024 NFL Draft. Obviously, this questions takes into account the entire draft and not just the Penix pick, but the first round pick is the biggest and most important investment in the entire class. Any way you slice it, that’s a significant change of opinion from a week ago.

To be clear, I don’t blame fans for changing their minds on the pick. Few people really want to linger in anger over things like this—especially for something like fandom that’s supposed to be fun! We’ve also all had a bit more time to let the surprise fade and consider that our assumptions heading into the draft may have been incorrect.

We also asked a question to all NFL fans that I thought was interesting for Falcons fans in particular: which first-round QB will have easiest transition to the NFL?

Unsurprisingly, Caleb Williams tops the list. He’s got a clear path to start and is walking into an offense with a suddenly elite receiving corps and improving offensive line. I have some concerns about the offensive coaching staff considering how poorly they utilized Justin Fields, but it’s a great situation overall.

All the way at the bottom, you’ll see Michael Penix Jr. To be fair, he’s only separated from #4 and #5 by 2% in total, but still: NFL fans think Penix is walking into a disaster. I think this is more national fans upset with Atlanta’s selection, and less about Penix actually walking into a bad situation. In theory, it could be a good situation for Penix—but it’s also rife with potential drama. He also has no clear path into the starting lineup for two seasons, so that could contribute. Otherwise, Penix would seem to have a decent setup given Atlanta’s stout offensive line and improving receiving corps.

What are your thoughts on the quick turnaround of public opinion towards Atlanta’s draft, and do you think Penix is really walking into a bad situation compared to the other rookies in this class?

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