NFL Draft: Falcons pull off a upset, take QB Michael Benix Jr. with No. 8 pick

Kirk Cousins ​​was signed by the Atlanta Falcons for a lot of money this offseason, and the NFL Draft's no. Could have gotten some help from the team with the 8th overall pick.

Instead, the Falcons got a replacement for Cousins.

The Falcons made a big surprise with the eighth pick, drafting Washington quarterback Michael Benix Jr. less than two months after signing Cousins ​​to a four-year, $180 million deal.

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The Atlanta Falcons' first-round draft pick of Michael Benix Jr. isn't popular among users of the Yahoo Sports app.  (Yahoo Sports)

The Atlanta Falcons' first-round draft pick of Michael Benix Jr. isn't popular among users of the Yahoo Sports app. (Yahoo Sports)

Cousins ​​is 36 years old and coming off a torn Achilles. But it's still shocking to see the Falcons go with a quarterback over someone like receiver Rom Odunze or a pass rusher like Dallas Turner.

It's going to be a bit awkward in Atlanta's quarterback room.

Bennix seemed to be in college forever. In 2018 he played in three games with Indiana. It was his first in six seasons of college football.

When Benix left Indiana after four seasons, he didn't seem like a highly drafted quarterback. He had four touchdowns and seven interceptions in his final season with the Hoosiers. He has torn his right ACL twice.

Bennix's career curve changed in Washington. He threw for 9,544 yards and 67 touchdowns in his two seasons with the Huskies. He finished in the top 10 of Heisman Trophy voting twice, including finishing second last season. He led Washington to the College Football Playoff title game. Bennix's performance in the semifinal win over Texas was many casual college football fans' first exposure to his game, and it was impressive.

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Benix's injury history and his age (he turns 24 on May 8) worked against him in the draft process. In addition to the two ACL injuries, he had season-ending injuries to his collarbone and the AC joint in his shoulder. That's a lot for an NFL team to use a high pick on him.

But it's also hard to ignore the Phoenix game tape. He has tremendous arm strength and was highly productive in Washington. If Benix's health cooperates, he has the tools to be a productive player in the NFL.

But he'll have to wait a bit behind Cousins.

Michael Benix Jr. led the Washington Huskies to the College Football Playoff Championship last season.  (Photo by CFP/Getty Images)Michael Benix Jr. led the Washington Huskies to the College Football Playoff Championship last season.  (Photo by CFP/Getty Images)

Bennix's age is another reason why the Falcons' selection was different. If Cousins ​​starts two seasons for the Falcons, Bennix will be 26 when he becomes Atlanta's starter. It's rare to pick someone 8th overall, and at least not think about him until he's 26.

It was also a bit of a surprise that Bennix was the fourth quarterback on the board. J.J. McCarthy was projected by many to be the first quarterback taken after Caleb Williams, Jaden Daniels and Drake Maye, but Benix went ahead of the Michigan quarterback. McCarthy went to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 10.

The draft always brings a few surprises. The Falcons pulled off a big upset on Thursday night. Relatives may have surprised everyone.

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