Call him old or crazy as bat feces, but Mike Shanahan made a bold move in the 2012 NFL Draft and it looks like it’ll payoff.
After sending their first and second round picks this year, along with their 2013 and 2014 first round picks to the St. Louis Rams for the second overall pick which they used to take Robert Griffin III, the Washington Redskins were left with a copious amount of late round picks.
After taking an offensive lineman in the third round, the Redskins drafted Kirk Cousins – a move that seemed unnecessary and once again promoted fans, media and NFL pundits to say Shanahan had once again fallen off his rocker – in the fourth round.
It wasn’t a matter of competition – since it’s known that Griffin is by far the best quarterback prospect than Cousins – but rather how Shanahan was valuing an already bleak amount of picks.
After Griffin sprained his right knee in the final minute of regulation against the Baltimore Ravens in week 14, Cousins stepped in and rallied the Redskins to force overtime and helped set shop for kicker Kai Forbath to boot a game-winning 34-yard field goal.
With Griffin out against the Cleveland Browns in week 15, Cousins’ number was called once again and he didn’t falter. The former Michigan State Spartan threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns to help the Redskins defeat the Browns 38-21.
Once Griffin returns, there won’t be a quarterback controversy. But if Cousins keeps producing and Washington clinches a Wild Card in the NFC, he could find himself with another team next season.
Cousins wasn’t highly touted coming into the 2012 NFL Draft. Teams pegged him as a second day pick that needed time to develop.
This year’s NFL Draft has seen the overall stock and play of the quarterback class drop significantly. Southern California‘s Matt Barkley has gone from the consensus first overall pick to some questioning whether or not he’ll even crack the first round. West Virginia’s Geno Smith has the athleticism and the numbers to state his case of being the first quarterback taken, but scouts have questioned of his game will translate to the NFL.
Cousins doesn’t have the skills of Barkley or Smith, but since he’s been in the league for one season under the tutelage of Shanahan and has yet to falter, a team in the top-10 might consider trading for Cousins. That doesn’t imply they’ll trade their respective first round pick – which they shouldn’t – but a late second or third round pick would be sufficient to land Cousins.
There’s always the Flavor of the Year each season for a quarterback that comes out of nowhere.
Cousins is on his way to becoming this year’s Matt Cassel, Matt Flynn and Kevin Kolb: He’s the guy who impresses at times, gets traded and is declared that team’s guy.
Whether or not he falters like Cassel, Flynn and Kolb or turns into a capable starting quarterback elsewhere will be up for debate – it all falls on Shanahan’s decision to cash in on trading Cousins.