Washington Redskins’ Kirk Cousins’ Performance Will Affect Teams’ NFL Draft Plans

Kirk Cousins

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins will be affecting the teams draft strategy next May for the 2014 NFL Draft. What’s the reason being? They’re going to trade him at some point before the draft, and what they’re looking for in return is simple: picks.

Remember, the ‘Skins lost a slew of top draft picks in the trade that eventually brought QB Robert Griffin to our nations capital. In exchange for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Redskins traded three first-round picks as well as a second rounder to the St. Louis Rams. That’s a huge price to pay for anyone, especially a depth-starved franchise such as Washington.

Compound the lack of early draft picks the last two years (and one more this year), in addition to the ridiculous cap penalty the league handed down (an astonishing $36 million over two years), and the Redskins have a razor-thin depth chart.

I’m not going to get into the whole story of why Cousins will be starting the final three games of the 2013 season, because anyone who has even looked at any sports headlines this week should already know. Let’s just settle on the fact that Cousins will be the guy for the short future, and short should be emphasized, because the franchise is still Griffin’s, and he’ll be the guy moving forward next year.

It’s pretty much common knowledge now; the ‘Skins are using these last few games as a resume-builder of sorts for Cousins.

He’s shown glimpses of his potential at various points the last two years, mainly filling in when Griffins’ been injured. Through five career games, Cousins has completed more than 61 percent of his passes for 573 yards, to go along with four TD’s. The five INT’s are less than impressive, but remember, most of the time he’s been in, he’s gone in cold, in the middle of a game (he’s only started one game), and he’s still relatively inexperienced.

Remember, though, Cousins was very highly thought of leading up to the ’12 draft. Coming off a year in which he led the Michigan State Spartans to the inaugural Big 10 Championship Game, Cousin’s was in the running for late 1st, early 2nd round consideration. He’s a smart, capable leader with a good arm and decent mobility. For one reason or another (largely because he developed the stigma of a ‘game manager’), Cousins dropped all the way to the fourth round, where the ‘Skins promptly selected him. Ever since then, Washington has been planning on shopping him one day.

Assuming Cousins plays well these last few games, the Redskins could bring in a decent haul in exchange for the second year QB. Could they get an early second rounder, like the New England Patriots received for Matt Cassel in 2009? Maybe not, nor could they probably get what the Atlanta Falcons received for Matt Schaub in 2007 (two second-round picks).

But a late second, early third along with a few later round picks? That’s very possible.

The 2014 NFL Draft class features a deep stable of talented young signal callers, and that will likely weaken the demand for Cousins’, surely preventing him from being exchanged for an early first rounder, which coach Mike Shanahan is said to be targeting.

Still, what exactly can the Redskins get for Cousins will be determined by how well he plays given this opportunity.

Rick Stavig is an NFL Draft Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickstavig or add him to your network on google+.

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