NFC South: Falcons execute a brilliant draft strategy on Day 2 of NFL Mock Draft

The Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New Orleans Saints all add pieces to their respective puzzles, while Falcons continue building a dynasty in Atlanta in Day 2 of the NFC South mock draft.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Texas v Washington
Allstate Sugar Bowl - Texas v Washington / Chris Graythen/GettyImages
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Michael Penix JR. Michael Penix JR. 44. . . Washington Huskies. Nsmd44. QB. 44. player

The Falcons are up at No. 44 and selected quarterback Michael Penix Jr. How he became the fifth-ranked quarterback on the big board is mind-boggling, but the Falcons now have the right guy behind center. 

In 2019, Penix had a breakout season in Indiana but was hampered by injuries and inconsistencies. He then moved to Washington, where he became a star again, tallying 4,641 yards, 31 touchdowns, and eight interceptions with a 65.3 percent completion rate in 2022. 

Penix is an accurate, brilliant thrower with a good touch on his passes and trusts his receivers in contested coverage.

He finished second in the Heisman voting and led the Huskies to the National Championship game, taking home the Maxwell Award and dominating the Sugar Bowl. He finished 2023 with a Warren Moon-esk 4218 passing yards and 33 touchdowns. Thirteen of those went to his No.1 target in Washington and now Falcons teammate Rome Odunze. 

Bringing in a rookie quarterback to be the face of a franchise puts a lot of pressure on a player, but allowing him to transition with a familiar receiver he has excellent chemistry with who will pay enormous dividends makes the Falcons’ draft strategy look brilliant. 

The offensive system is customizable for Penix. He will thrive in the fast-paced, big-weapon style. With Drake London and Odunze at receiver, Kyle Pitts at tight end, and Bijan Robinson in the backfield, just a bit more protection is all Penix will need to look like 2024's C.J. Stroud. Put your Rookie of the Year bets in immediately.