Michael Penix Jr. says he and Kirk Cousins had a ‘very good conversation’ after surprise draft move to Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons’ draft pick Michael Penix Jr. said he had a “very good conversation” with fellow quarterback and new teammate Kirk Cousins after his surprise selection on Thursday.

The Falcons shocked the NFL world by selecting Penix Jr. with the No. 8 pick, a move that raised eyebrows because 36-year-old Cousins had signed a four-year $180 million contract with Atlanta in March to be the franchise’s new starting quarterback.

Given the Falcons’ defensive needs, adding a quarterback to the roster was a move not many saw coming. Even Cousins’ agent Mike McCartney told the NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo that the pick “was a big surprise” to his client’s camp.

Talking to reporters on Friday, Penix Jr. said that he had spoken to Cousins on Thursday night.

“He did reach out,” the 23-year-old said. “We had a very good conversation …”

“I’m going to keep it between me and him right now but it was definitely a good conversation and I’m super excited to work with him and he said he is the same for me,” he added.

“I’m super blessed to be able to be in a room with him and to be able to work with him and learn from him. And support him as he continues with his career.”

Penix Jr. is coming off two stellar seasons with Washington. Last year, he was the first FBS player to pass for 4,500-plus yards in back-to-back seasons since Patrick Mahomes in 2015-16.

Michael Penix Jr. is seen as part of the Flacons' succession plan at quarterback. - Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Michael Penix Jr. is seen as part of the Flacons' succession plan at quarterback. - Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Speaking to the media after the first round, Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Raheem Morris stressed that Cousins was their starting quarterback.

They also expressed their excitement at being able to build to the future with Penix Jr.

Speaking about being part of a succession plan, Penix Jr. said: “Biggest thing is being myself. I don’t feel like I need to change for anybody or anyway.

“But just being myself and going in confident and going in with an opportunistic mindset. Mindset to want to learn, want to put in the work and get to know the guys, get to know the system.”

CNN’S Ben Morse contributed to reporting.

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