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May 01, 2012

Draft review: Kirk Cousins

Where to begin ... Let's go with Jason Reid of The Washington Post, who calls  the Cousins selection risky but necessary.

    "Mike Shanahan reportedly had Cousins as the third-best quarterback in the draft, behind Griffin and top overall pick Andrew Luck," Reid writes.

    Still, this pick may have been the most scrutinized and debated in the draft. You have that many needs, you pay that high a price to get RG III -- and you go backup QB in the fourth round? Deron Snyder of the Washington Times doesn't see it.

    "This is no knock on Cousins, the Redskins’ surprise fourth-round selection," Snyder writes. "He seems like a great guy, smart and a hard worker. He might evolve into an exceptional NFL backup or even a starter one day. But no one wants him to play here."

    And what about Cousins? He has done a lot of radio interviews since the pick and has said exactly the right things, as usual. But it has to be somewhat disappointing to know that it will probably require an injury to the new face of the franchise or a trade to see the field, right? Dan Patrick sure sounded disappointed that one of his favorite new guests likely won't have an early shot to shine. Cousins tried to cheer him up -- and also had an interesting take on the QB "competition."

    "We're not competing against one another, we're competing with one another, and we're competing with one another to help the Redskins win football games," said Cousins, who also said of his chance to start some day:  "The way the NFL works, your window of opportunity is very small, but when you get that opportunity you have to make the most of it. I know mine's gonna come at some point. I've just got to be ready when it does."

    Washington's QB coach chimed in, saying of the situation: "Both of those guys have intangibles off the charts. There’s no doubt in my mind they’ll get along great and really push each other to be better players.”

    Lots of opinions on this. NBC's Mike Florio thinks Cousins may help keep RG III in line.

    SI's Peter King calls it the worst offensive pick of the draft.

    ESPN's Jeffri Chadiha also has it on his worst list, saying: "The problem here is that Cousins has enough upside to be on a team willing to give him a greater chance at earning a job. The Redskins also don't need to face the potentially awkward situation of him taking to the offense faster than RG3 and igniting an undesirable quarterback controversy. But this is how the Redskins have operated for years."

    According to the Detroit Free Press, ESPN's Todd McShay said on the air that Cousins could end up as a coveted backup in the future, also saying: "This might be the best thing that ever happened to Kirk Cousins' career."

    USA Today's Nate Davis has a thorough defense of the pick, including the fact that Cousins could potentially "be spun off a la Matt Cassel, Kevin Kolb or Matt Schaub for high-end draft picks in the future."

    In case you missed it before the draft, here's our story on Cousins and the process. Here's MSU's official release on Cousins.

    And if you liked that Jerel Worthy YouTube package, check this out.

    It'll be interesting to see what MSU fans think of Cousins and his time in East Lansing a decade from now. I'm thinking he'll be much more appreciated than he was when he played. Which is normal.

    And at that point, what will his NFL career look like? I think he'll still have one. Barring a serious injury, Cousins will be a commodity in this league because of those intangibles. A long career as a backup QB (one of the best jobs in the world, really) is virtually assured. But I also have no doubt he'll push until he gets his chance to start. I would not bet against him getting one and capitalizing on it.

    It'll be tough in Washington, though, because Griffin has a lot of the same intangibles. And a big, big, accurate arm. And the foot speed. People who haven't watched much of him might assume the latter is his primary strength. Not at all. I've heard some extremely inaccurate and somewhat offensive analysis of his game. Some people need to get out of the 1970s. Griffin is going to be the franchise player in Washington for a long time if he stays healthy. Cousins will probably get his best shot in another city. Before that, he can learn a lot, and he'll probably end up liking Griffin a lot (and vice versa). They starting competing -- "with" one another -- on Friday.

     The 2013 mock drafts and prospect lists are starting to emerge. Sports Illustrated's Andrew Perloff has Will Gholston going 22nd. One click below that, SI's Tony Pauline has no Gholston or Johnny Adams in his top 32. Pete Prisco of CBS has Gholston No. 17 on his list of prospects and Adams in the honorable mention file. NFL.com's Bucky Brooks has Adams No. 29 with no Gholston mention. Dane Brugler has Gholston No. 29 with no Adams mention. Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead has no Spartans in his mock -- but he does have a receiver named Denard. And most interesting of all, the Lions picking No. 31 after losing in the Super Bowl to New England (!)

    Like I said, (!)

    NFL.com's Chad Reuter ranks the 2013 prospects by position, with Gholston No. 4 at his and Adams No. 4 at his. Others of note: U-M tackle Taylor Lewan is No. 1 (setting up Gholston-Lewan II), as is Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, Gholston's high school teammate (!)



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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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