Former NFL defensive back Tank Williams was among those caught off guard when the Atlanta Falcons decided to take quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 pick of the NFL Draft.

Williams appeared on OutKick’s “Hot Mic” on Monday and agreed that the Falcons’ selection of Penix, along with a ton of guaranteed money owed to newly signed veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins, puts the team’s salary cap into dire straits.


Kirk Cousins on the sidelines

Kirk Cousins (Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images/File)

“When it first went down, that was my initial impression,” Williams said. “If you want to build a winner in the NFL, we’ve already seen what the model is. You lock in a young quarterback who punches above his weight early on in his career, and that allows you to put so many pieces around him because you’re in a better cap situation. We’ve seen it with the Houston Texans. We’ve seen it with so many other teams.”

Williams said he doesn’t understand how Atlanta could sign Cousins to a deal worth up to $180 million and then select Penix

The former Washington standout will likely sign a four-year deal worth $22.8 million with a fifth-year team option and a $13.4 million signing bonus, according to Spotrac.


Michael Penix Jr at the combine

Michael Penix (Michael Hickey/Getty Images/File)

“So, if you knew Michael Penix was going to be your guy, why would you go ahead and guarantee Kirk Cousins over $100 million and then go and draft this guy top 10.”

“So, one, you put yourself into a terrible cap situation moving forward. You don’t notify Kirk Cousins what your attentions are, so now your quarterback room is already a little bit jaded from jump street. Then, if you feel like you could win immediately, you got these two quarterbacks on your roster where you have this top-heavy draft pool. You end up wasting on a quarterback when you could’ve had a running back or a wide receiver or an offensive lineman or some of the other pieces to the puzzle, yet you spend it on Michael Penix.”

Regardless of whether it was with the Falcons, Williams said Penix should’ve been in the top 10.

Terry Fontenot at the Combine

Atlanta GM Terry Fontenot (Stacy Revere/Getty Images/File)


“As far as talent alone, the kid deserved to be drafted in the top 10. I just don’t like the way the Falcons went about it,” he said.

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