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2024 NFL Draft tracker: Falcons’ Michael Penix Jr. pick may have required some explaining, other viral moments

Sports2024 NFL Draft tracker: Falcons' Michael Penix Jr. pick may have required some explaining, other viral moments


The 2024 NFL Draft is finally here, kicking off on Thursday in Detroit. Round 1 hopefuls and NFL fans waited patiently on Day 1 as the teams selected players to add to their squad.

The Chicago Bears had the No. 1 overall pick and, as expected, took USC quarterback Caleb Williams in hopes that he will be their next franchise starter. The Washington Commanders followed, selecting LSU QB Jayden Daniels and the New England Patriots rounded out the top three with North Carolina QB Drake Maye.

While there is a lot of excitement in the selections, the action outside of the picks is entertaining as well. Here are some of the best moments from Round 1, from Detroit legends to confusing picks and everything in-between:

Eminem and other Detroit legends

The draft kicked off in a very fitting and very Detroit way, with legends from the city and from the Lions. Commissioner Roger Goodell teased a rap battle with Eminem, but after introducing him on the draft stage, changed his mind. The crowd quickly went from booing the commissioner to cheering for one of the cities most iconic artists. 

Current Lions Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Aidan Hutchinson and Pro Football Hall of Famers Calvin Johnson and Barry Sanders all took the stage alongside Slim Shady.

History made

This drafts marks the earliest four quarterbacks have been selected in the common draft era (since 1967). USC’s Caleb Williams was the first QB and first player off the board, going to the Chicago Bears. Two more quarterbacks followed, with the Washington Commanders selecting LSU’s Jayden Daniels and the New England Patriots picking Drake Maye out of North Carolina. 

After quarterbacks went with the first three picks, players in the position took a pause from being selected, but not for long. At No. 8 the Atlanta Falcons, who signed quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason, surprised most by adding to their QB room with Michael Penix Jr. out of Washington.

Not only was it the fastest that four quarterbacks were taken, it was also the first time in draft history that six quarterbacks were selected in the first 12 picks. The last time six quarterbacks were taken was in 1983, which included John Elway, Jim Kelly, Ken O’Brien and Dan Marino. This group has a lot to live up to.

The number of offensive players taken to kick off the event was unprecedented. It was the first time the that all of the top 14 selections were offensive players and was the longest streak of offensive players taken at any point. The longest a draft had previously gone before a defensive player was off the board was seven picks in 2021, when the Carolina Panthers took Jaycee Horn at No. 8

Walter Payton Man of the Year announces pick

The Walter Payton Man of the Year award is known as the most prestigious award in the NFL. Goodell noted that while the draftees will make a difference on the field, their difference off the field will be felt as well. He then introduced the 2023 winner of the award Cam Heyward. The Steeler has made many positive contributions to the community, including creating Cam’s Kindness Week, where he reaches out to various areas of the community daily, and working with The Caring Place, which offers programs to support children and families who are grieving after a devastating loss.

In his speech, Heyward had a challenge for NFL players and the players being added to the league this weekend.

“Use your platform to brighten someone’s day. The opportunity before you is a gift and by coming here and being in this league, seize that moment. Be better in our communities, be better for our league and our world,” he said.

He then announced that with the No. 20 overall pick, the Steelers seelct Troy Fautanu, who was emotional while receiving the call. 

Jordan joins from Australia

The NFL has been making an effort to expand to other countries, with multiple games in various places around the world. What started as a program with games in London has expanded to Germany and Brazil. 

Philadelphia’s Jordan Mailata announced the Eagles‘ first-round selection from Australia and the best part is, he did it in an Australian accent. Defensive back Quinyon Mitchell was the Eagles pick, off the board at No. 22. 

Kevin O’Connell’s trade reaction

The Minnesota Vikings traded up from No. 23 to No. 17 to get Alabama edge Dallas Turner. When head coach Kevin O’Connell heard the trade was happening and the team would be able to get its guy, he had quite the reaction. Clearly Turner was a player O’Connell wanted, and for good reason. 

Here is a look at the reaction and the phone call that followed:

The Vikings took McCarthy with their first selection of the night and were able to get two key players without giving up a first-rounder next year. 

Falcons’ pick need explaining?

The Falcons had the biggest surprise pick of the night, taking quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8, despite signing Kirk Cousins for $180 million this offseason. The selection left fans with puzzled faces. If the pick works out, the Falcons will have the last laugh, but right now it leaves for a lot of second-guessing.

After the selection, it looked as if general manager Terry Fontenot was explaining himself to owner Arthur Blank. What was really being said, we may never know. Perhaps they were discussing what food they would get when the draft concludes, but it was perfectly timed for the internet to run wild with it. 

Penn State coach congratulates first-rounders

A pair of Nittany Lions got selected in the first round: The New York Jets took offensive tackle Olu Fashanu with the No. 11 overall pick and the Miami Dolphins took pass rusher Chop Robinson at No. 21. With two of his former players getting selected in the first round, Penn State coach James Franklin wanted to make sure he was there to congratulate them both in person. The two players live close, which made the surprise possible.

Check out their priceless reactions to seeing their former coach show up at their house on draft day:

This scene definitely makes the cut of best Round 1 moments.





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