The Atlanta Falcons shocked the NFL world at No. 8 overall by selecting former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. The Falcons signed former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to a four-year deal worth $180 million in free agency, but at 35-years-old and coming off of a torn Achilles, you have to wonder how many years he has left. Now, Atlanta has its eventual Cousins replacement.

Penix was one of the more mysterious quarterbacks in this class solely because the range of where he was projected to come off the board was so wide. Some had him as a possible top-10 selection, while others questioned if he'd come off the board in the first round at all. Part of that was due to two ACL tears Penix suffered while at Indiana. What isn't up for debate, however, is his arm talent. Penix is said to have one of the better deep balls of any quarterback in the class, and that was on full display at Washington.

After transferring from Indiana, Penix took the college football world by storm with the Huskies. In 2022, he was the FBS leader in passing yards, which helped to to win the Maxwell Award. He followed that up with a 2023 during which he led Washington to a 13-0 regular season where he finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting after leading the NCAA in passing yards. The first-team All-American helped bring Washington to the College Football Playoff National Championship game but fell to Michigan. In his final collegiate season, Penix threw for 4,903 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Here's what the Falcons are getting in Penix, including his scouting report, pro comparison, career accolades, fantasy fit and overall NFL outlook.

NFL Draft grade: B

"They opted to take their quarterback of the future by taking Penix. He has all the tools, but will learn and wait behind Kirk Cousins. I wonder if he can rush the passer. Like the player, but don't like the pick." -- Pete Prisco

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Fantasy football outlook

Analysis to come

Dynasty spin

Analysis to come

Michael Penix Jr. NFL Draft prospect profile

  • Age as of Week 1: 24 years old
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Weight: 218
  • Hand size: 10 1/2 inches

Comparable body type: Jimmy Garoppolo

CBS Sports prospect ranking

Position: No. 5 QB | Overall: No. 30 | Rating: 88.43 (High-level starter)

NFL comparison: Jordan Love 

Penix has a lot of traits that we could compare to many players, but I felt like if we remove the injury concerns he is closest to Jordan Love. Both have good arm strength, both aren't afraid of pass rush pressure, both will challenge downfield, both fully trust their receivers in tight coverage and both have good mobility without having to often rely on rushing. Love needed time to learn how to go through his reads and process defensive coverage; Penix might be ahead of where Love was when he was a draft prospect. Hopefully both can ultimately overcome their high off-target throwing rates (Love did make progress in that area this season).

Scouting report

NFL decision-makers have a wide array of opinions on Michael Penix Jr.'s abilities; some like him in Round 1, while others think he's a Day 3 target. It's hard to argue that he's the best deep ball thrower in this draft class, and he arrives in the league with a ton of experience.


  • 2023: Heisman Trophy runner-up (best finish in Washington history)
  • 2022-23: Most pass yards (9,544) in 2-year span in Pac-12 history


  • Best deep-ball thrower in this class
  • Throws with anticipation on intermediate routes
  • Very good at putting the ball in position to maximize YAC


  • Injury history will be a concern for many NFL teams
  • Can he consistently throw the ball accurately over the middle of the field on intermediate routes?

College stats breakdown

2023 vs. top-25 teams761.9%20567.814522211.03
Career at UW2865.4%95448.66719711001.47

CBS Sports fantasy takes an in-depth look at Michael Penix Jr. as a draft prospect.