The Atlanta Falcons have signed all but two of their eight draft picks from the 2024 NFL Draft. The only two remaining rookies are first-round pick Michael Penix Jr. and fourth-round pick Brandon Dorlus.

All eight picks, including Penix and Dorlus, and 10 undrafted free agents have already gone through the beginning of NFL activities to prepare for the 2024 season. Rookie minicamp concluded on May 12, and since May 13, OTAs have been underway. June 6 will be the final date of OTAs before the next phase begins with mandatory minicamp starting on June 10.

This was an extremely important draft class for general manager Terry Fontenot and first-year head coach Raheem Morris. The two set out on a mission to build for the present and the future, albeit in controversial fashion. Of course, the controversy lies in the Falcons' No. 8 overall pick, Penix.

Penix will be a 24-year-old rookie who likely won't see the field very much, if at all, in the upcoming season. Which, in and of itself, is why his draft selection by the Falcons was so heavily scrutinized by pundits. The former Washington Husky will now have to wait his turn until either time or fate decides his future.

Even though all the talk has revolved around Penix, many are forgetting Atlanta's seven other draft picks. That includes third-round, No. 74 overall selection Bralen Trice, who was actually teammates with Penix at Washington, and could be the rookie sleeper pick of the team's draft.

Bralen Trice could make an immediate impact for the Falcons in 2024

Washington defensive lineman Bralen Trice (DL49) works out during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest concerns following the pick for Penix was that he wasn't an immediate need. The Falcons needed a pass rusher — and have for years. For the last four drafts, the Falcons have gone all in on offensive skill position players, including this year. That may not have been too surprising with an offensive head coach like Arthur Smith, but when Morris, a former defensive coordinator, came in, many suspected a defensive first-round pick was imminent. That obviously wasn't the case.

The Falcons were ranked 21st in the league in team sacks with 42 last season, which was better than their two previous seasons finishing last and second to last. But they still ranked dead last in pass-rush win rate (31 percent), per ESPN Stats and Info. And on top of that, last year's sack leaders, Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree, departed in free agency, while the Falcons added none to replace them.

The need was staring them right in the face during the draft, and yet they still continued to make what felt like a guy drafting his fantasy football team by selecting Penix. At No. 8, Atlanta could have had their choice of any pass rusher they wanted. Still available were Laiatu Latu — the first edge rusher off the board — Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, and Chop Robinson.

But instead, Fontenot and Morris decided to rebuild most of their entire defensive front over their next three picks with defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro, defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus, and linebacker JD Bertrand, and of course, Trice.

Trice is a sleeper merely because he was taken so late. Some had him going much earlier than when he went but for whatever reason fell to the Falcons in the third round. He obviously fits an immediate need for Atlanta. He'll likely be asked to go right in there with Arnold Ebiketie and linebacker Lorenzo Carter as the team's main pass rushers.

Apparently, Trice is already showing why he was an excellent choice. While on 92.9 The Game's radio broadcast, Beau Morgan of the Atlanta Falcons' Radio Network said the one thing that he's been consistently hearing about Trice is that, “he's different.”

“The fire in his eyes — this guy is it. They were lucky to grab him when they did, that he was there,” Morgan said, via “A lot of teams are going to be upset that they did not grab Bralen Trice.”

Morgan even went on to say that Trice reminds a lot of former Falcon John Abraham when he was a rookie. There are also those, like ESPN Senior Writer Mike Clay, who believe that Trice could challenge for the rookie sack title.

Last season for the Huskies, Trice accounted for eight sacks, 19 quarterback hits, 53 hurries, and 33 tackles for a loss. He was ranked 6th highest among all edge rushers from Power Five schools last season, with a pass rush grade of 90.8, according to Pro-Football-Focus. That was better than both first-round picks Dallas Turner and Jared Verse.

Maybe the Falcons' plan will work out after all. If so, he'll not only excite Atlanta fans with the way he gets after the quarterback but also ease the drafting of their own.