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COLUMN: Strikingly different scenarios for NFL draft picks Caleb Williams, Michael Penix Jr.

Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Williams and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Penix Jr. fulfilled their NFL dreams on Thursday night's draft. – Photo by @ChicagoBears /, @AtlantaFalcons /

With the 2024 NFL draft officially over, many big moves were made, including some shocking ones. Here's what to take away from day one.

The Chicago Bears have put Caleb Williams in the most advantageous position of any top quarterback draft pick in NFL history

It was no surprise that the Bears went with the former USC quarterback and 2022 Heisman Winner Caleb Williams, but perhaps one of the biggest steals of the night was their selection of Washington receiver Rome Odunze at No. 9 overall. Pairing Odunze up with veteran Keenan Allen and DJ Moore, who's coming off a 1,300-yard season, this receiver room could easily be considered the best in the league.

Adding in the offseason signing of D'Andre Swift, this offense has the potential to present a lot of trouble for the rest of the NFC North. Chicago has officially entered a new era.

Atlanta Falcons made one of the riskiest first-round picks in recent time

Falcons fans and everyone else watching the draft were utterly shocked when it was announced that Atlanta was selecting Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick rather than choosing one of the many defensive prospects that were still on the board.

After signing veteran Kirk Cousins to a four-year $180 million contract in March, it seemed as though the Falcons would be doing everything they could to give him the best-supporting cast to make a playoff run this season. But with the selection of Penix Jr., it looks like Atlanta is already trying to prepare for life after Cousins.

Even if the plan is for Penix Jr. to wait until Cousins' contract expires, Penix Jr. will be 27 years old by then. Considering his injury history and Cousins' hefty contract, this draft pick could potentially be a misstep for Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and owner Arthur Blank.

Overall, the draft proved to be very interesting, with many teams opting for firepower on the offensive side of the ball. Divisions like the NFC North will certainly be a lot more competitive moving forward and will be watched more closely by fans. While some teams made a couple of head-scratching moves, many teams are now one step closer to their goal of competing for a Super Bowl next season.

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