Last year in the 2012 NFL Draft, Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan selected quarterback Kirk Cousins with the seventh pick of the fourth round.
Normally, that wouldn’t be a curious decision. Except this came exactly 100 picks after Shanahan selected quarterback Robert Griffin at number two overall.
Shanahan was ridiculed by league and media circles nationwide for such a curious pick. With so many glaring weakness for the Redskins, why would they invest another premium pick on a quarterback?
Personally, I loved the pick, if for nothing else, it was an excellent value pick.
Think about it, at worst, you get a solid backup quarterback with fantastic trade value. At best, you have a better quarterback than the guy you took second overall.
Well, Shanahan is looking like both a genius and a fool today.
A fool because he kept his golden boy Griffin in the game versus the Seattle Seahawks until his knee was damaged almost beyond repair. Griffin, we now realize, has potentially torn both AC and LC ligaments in his right knee. Worst case: he’s out 14-18 months (all of next season).
But now Shanahan is also looking like a genius for the Cousins pick.
This season Cousins has filled in admirably whenever the frequently hobbled Griffin couldn’t perform, completing nearly 69% of his passes with four touchdowns and a 101.6 quarterback rating (Griffin had a 102.4).
So now the prodigal son is out for possibly the entire 2013 season, and the fourth rounder Cousins is the de facto team leader.
No, Cousins does not have the athletic ability of Griffin. Nor does he have the star appeal to sell jersey’s and tickets (something even more important than winning to Daniel Snyder and his cronies: $$$$). But he can play quarterback. He proved that in limited time this year. And as good as he looked leading the Redskins to a come-from-behind overtime victory over the beltway rival Baltimore Ravens, he’s only going to get better. If anything, playing behind Griffin and learning the scheme played to Cousins’ advantage. Now he’s familiar with the team, the scheme, the polarizing owner, and the life of an NFL quarterback.
So while Redskins fans are probably freaking out right about now, think about the positives of the situation.
Next year Cousins will either fail or succeed. If he fails, the Redskins don’t make the playoffs (something their fans have begrudgingly gotten used to before this year), and then you’ll have another high draft pick to use to continue putting talent around Griffin. Basically a year off.
If he succeeds, the ‘Skins make the playoffs for the second year in a row and they’ll have the hottest young trading commodity in the league. That equals more premium draft picks, hence, more talent around Griffin.
So fret not, Redskins fans. The most popular man in D.C. (yes, even more so than Barack Hussein) may not be under center next year, but it’s not the end of the world. And even if he can’t ever run the way he used to, he’s still got an all-pro caliber arm.
But it’s a good thing they took two quarterbacks in last years draft.
That Kirk Cousins pick is looking mighty good right about now.