Insider notes on NFL Draft 2024 Day 2: Why Falcons swooped for Michael Penix Jr. and Bills' plans at WR 

Insider notes on NFL Draft 2024 Day 2: Why Falcons swooped for Michael Penix Jr. and Bills
Insider notes on NFL Draft 2024 Day 2: Why Falcons swooped for Michael Penix Jr. and Bills' plans at WR

The first round of the draft opened as expected with the Chicago Bears selecting Caleb Williams, then ended with a surprise as the Carolina Panthers moved up one slot to draft Xavier Legette. There are still some top-rated receivers available, and that’s the direction the team with the first selection Friday will look, unless they trade down.

2024 NFL Draft: Who Bills could target in the second round

The Buffalo Bills open Round 2 with the 33rd selection and I’m told they are considering two receivers - Adonai Mitchell and Keon Coleman. The team will entertain offers to move down, as other franchises have been calling with the hopes of trading up for Cooper DeJean, Kool-Aid McKinstry or Jer'Zhan Newton. I’m told the Bills have at least two additional receivers highly rated on their board after Mitchell and Coleman and would be comfortable trading down for the right offer.

2024 NFL Draft: Why Falcons went with surprise Michael Penix Jr. selection

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There were few surprising picks during the first round of last night’s draft, though the Atlanta Falcons selecting Michael Penix Jr. was a shocker. While the selection of Penix by Atlanta was mentioned as a possibility earlier this week, it seemed absurd to believe given that the franchise signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $160 million contract at the start of free agency with $100 million in guarantees.

And while we may never know what exactly led to the Falcons selection of Penix, there are two theories floating around the league.

Multiple people I’ve spoken with believe the selection was driven by the owner, Arthur Blank. Despite a video that’s gone viral that many contend was Blank’s surprise reaction to the pick, a league source told me immediately after the choice was made that the decision to draft Penix was driven by the owner.

Opinions from people I’ve spoken with and texted since last night range from Blank giving the okay for general manager Terry Fontenot to select the quarterback to the owner pushing hard for his team to draft Penix. The pragmatists tell me the decision to draft Penix was based on the belief that the team won’t be drafting that early anytime soon and won’t have a chance to select a quarterback in the top 10. They point to the Green Bay Packers’ selection of Jordan Love in 2020 despite having Aaron Rodgers on the roster. Still, it’s hard to argue that the Atlanta Falcons are a better team today than they were 24 hours ago.

2024 NFL Draft: Inside Commanders' failed trade attempt

Earlier this week, I reported that the Washington Commanders would try and trade into the back end of Round 1 for Jordan Morgan, and that’s exactly what they attempted to do late last night, albeit unsuccessfully. I’m told Washington worked the phones with teams that held picks in the mid-to-late 20s, hoping to move up and draft Morgan.

Speculation is that they were attempting to move to the Lions’ pick at 29 for Morgan, but Detroit eventually moved ahead of the Packers and selected Terrion Arnold, which took a top target for Green Bay off the board before they selected the offensive lineman from Arizona themselves, dooming the Commanders’ plans.

2024 NFL Draft: Patriots looking to get offense going

I have Georgia receiver Ladd McConkey being selected by the Patriots with the 34th selection. If he gets past New England, the Titans (pick 38), Commanders (picks 36 and 40) and Colts (pick 46) all have interest in McConkey.

2024 NFL Draft: Cardinals get straight As

The Cardinals did a terrific job Thursday, coming away with the receiver and defensive lineman they desperately need. Cornerback and edge rusher are next on the list of team needs, and I presently have them selecting Cooper DeJean with the 35th selection. If DeJean is not available for Arizona, they will switch course and center/guard Jackson Powers-Johnson could be their pick at the top of Round 2.

2024 NFL Draft: Steelers' plan to replace Diontae Johnson

I have the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Keon Coleman with the 51st pick in my recent Day 2 mock draft. I’m also told Roman Wilson of Michigan is receiving consideration at that spot. Most interestingly, word the past few days is that the Steelers have been nosing around and would like to trade for a veteran wideout. The Steelers traded Diontae Johnson to the Panthers at the start of free agency and would like to pair a veteran wideout with George Pickens.

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