Redskins make curious move with Kirk Cousins
With other needs to fill, the Redskins drafting Kirk Cousins 100 picks after RG3 left a lot of people scratching their heads.
By Len Pasquarelli
Just for the record, Kirk Cousins actually won more games in college than Robert Griffin III (27-23), and in one fewer start (39-40), and so the notion that the Washington Redskins would actually select the former Michigan State standout in the fourth round on Saturday is not altogether ludicrous.
Then again, Cousins, chosen with the 102nd overall pick of the lottery, didn't win a Heisman Trophy. And that's just one of the many explanations for why he lasted on the draft board until 100 picks later than Griffin did.
Still, there certainly are reasons to like Cousins - his well-documented leadership skills among them - although five other quarterbacks went off the board ahead of him.
The biggest questions, aside from a lack of arm strength, and only modest movement skills: Why did the Redskins, who have essentially declared "RG3" the starter from the first practice, like him so much?
It was, to be sure, one of the more curious moves of the draft. And that's not meant to be a slap at Cousins. It's just that Washington, which hasn't posted a winning record in since 2007 and averaged fewer than six victories in the succeeding four seasons, had a few other holes to fill.
Yet the Redskins, whose maneuvers have admittedly become less inexplicable under general manager Bruce Allen, invested two of their first three choices on quarterbacks.
Within an hour of Cousins' selection, Washington released backup John Beck, which means the Redskins likely will go into the season with a pair of rookies on the depth chart. The only veteran with any starting experience is the frequently maligned Rex Grossman. The lone other quarterback on the roster is the untested Jonathan Crompton, who has yet to appear in a regular-season game.
Only a year ago, Mike Shanahan, on the heels of the Donovan McNabb disaster, was prepared to go to camp with Beck as his starter. Good plan, at least apparently in theory, until Grossman beat out Beck for the No. 1 job. Beck, whose NFL resume includes just seven career starts, started only three games in '11.
There will be no such alteration of the depth chart this year. The Redskins forked over a small ransom to St. Louis seven weeks ago for the rights to tab Griffin with the second overall choice. Griffin has declared himself the new "face of the franchise" and the team's Website is already featuring him on its home page.
Even Cousins, the winningest quarterback in the storied history of the Big 10, was admittedly surprised that it was the Redskins who provided him a cozy safety net and ended his plummet.
"There are a lot of things I can't control," Cousins told the Washington-area media. "Like where I get drafted."
There was immediate speculation that the Redskins chose Cousins as a future bargaining chip - a guy to feature some in preseason games for the next few years and then dangle to a team in need of quarterback help. But such designs - unless perhaps your name is Matt Flynn or Matt Cassel (who actually started 15 regular-season games in 2008, when Tom Brady was injured) - typically do not work out well. So this one was a little hard to figure.
Even for Cousins.
"I was trying to forecast which teams would be in need of a quarterback," he said, "and I didn't see the Redskins thinking along those lines."
Neither did anyone else.
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