NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the crowd with Eminem and Detroit Lions Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Aidan Hutchinson and Hall of Famers Calvin Johnson and Barry Sanders on the stage before Round 1 of the NFL draft on April 25, 2024. Credit: Detroit Free Press

Like many, J.J. Watt tuned into the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night.

And like many, the future Hall of Fame defensive lineman was perplexed to see the Atlanta Falcons use the No. 8 overall pick on Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

While Penix is highly thought of as a prospect, few — if any — had projected the Falcons to use their first-round selection on a signal-caller. After all, it was just last month that Atlanta made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason by signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract.

Taking to X, Watt made note of Falcons’ curious draft choice. And in doing so, the Wisconsin product reminded fans that it was just last year that Atlanta claimed not to have any interest in Lamar Jackson when he was available as a free agent before he re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens.

“Falcons publicly said they weren’t interested in Lamar Jackson last offseason. (Just won his 2nd MVP),” Watt wrote. “This offseason signed Kirk Cousins to a $180M deal AND drafted Michael Penix Jr. with the #8 pick. Either guy could potentially turn out to be great for them, but that is WILD.”

As Watt notes, the Falcons’ unique approach to the quarterback position doesn’t mean that Cousins and/or Penix’s time in Atlanta won’t work out. But suffice to say, it’s more than fair to question how the franchise has gone about addressing football’s most important not just this offseason, but last offseason as well.”

[J.J. Watt on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.