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Cousins also added; Beck released

The Sports Xchange
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--After trading three first-round picks and a second-round selection to choose Robert Griffin III second overall on Thursday, the Redskins drafted Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins with the seventh choice in the fourth round. But coach Mike Shanahan doesn't think he has created a typical Washington quarterback controversy although Cousins won 27 games as a three-year starter for the Spartans.

"Any time you get a quarterback like Robert in the second pick of a draft ... he's your franchise quarterback," Shanahan said. "He's going to be your quarterback for the next decade. (Kirk) knows he's going to be a backup ... but there (are) injuries. I thought it was a steal for us."

Washington was the first team to select two quarterbacks during the first four rounds since Green Bay in 1989. The last time the Redskins chose a quarterback in the top 10 before Griffin was in 1994 when they took Heath Shuler. He was eventually beaten out by Gus Frerotte, whom the Redskins chose in the seventh round that year.

Before the third day of the draft was done, the Redskins cut John Beck, who nearly beat out Rex Grossman to be the opening day starter in 2011 but performed poorly in his three starts.

Cousins, who won 27 games as a three-year starter, is undeniably talented, but coach Mike Shanahan created the kind of quarterback controversy that has often enveloped the Redskins.

"It is a little surprising," Cousins said on a conference call. "I was trying to forecast which teams would be looking at a quarterback and I didn't see the Redskins thinking along those lines, but coach Shanahan's words to me were that he couldn't pass me up."

--While the Redskins put some pressure on Griffin by drafting Cousins three rounds later, coach Mike Shanahan and Washington owner Dan Snyder certainly love their new focal point.

"You let every quarterback be (himself)," Shanahan said. "He's a natural leader. Robert, you can just see his personality. He's a very relaxed guy. I'm very impressed with how he's handled himself throughout this process. From a character standpoint, you know he's going to be your first guy there and your last guy to leave. You're looking for a guy as a quarterback like (captain) London Fletcher handles himself on the defensive side. If you get a quarterback like London Fletcher, you're going to have a leader for years to come. And we believe that Robert is that guy. He wants to be the best at what he does and that's what excited us to see his commitment, both on the football field, in the classroom, being around his parents, his girlfriend. We think he's a guy that fits in great with this organization. He's a guy that we want to develop and be the face of the organization."

Griffin acknowledged the Redskins' longstanding struggles at quarterback where they started 21 players the past 19 years while reaching the playoffs just three times and never advancing beyond the divisional round. Washington's last Pro Bowl passer was Brad Johnson in 1999, not coincidentally when he led them to their last NFC East title.

"I've definitely seen the struggles the team has gone through, especially when it comes to quarterbacks," Griffin said. "They drafted me to try to be the solution to that problem and I plan on being that solution. They're relying on me. That's what (owner) Dan Snyder told me. They're relying on me, and I like to be relied on. I feel like I can help in any way possible."

--The additions of Griffin and Cousins prompted the release of quarterback John Beck midway through the third day of the draft. Beck, 30, lost all three of his starts last season after coming up short in a training camp battle with Rex Grossman, who started the other 13 games and re-signed with the Redskins in March.

Last spring, Shanahan said that he would "stake my reputation" on Grossman and Beck, but now the former will likely be a teacher/sounding board for the rookies while the latter is an ex-Redskin.

--Two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather, who signed with Washington on March 15, was arrested on a DUI charge early Wednesday morning and held overnight in the Arlington County (Va.) jail after refusing a breathalyzer test. Shanahan acknowledged the arrest but declined further comment. The transgression doesn't help Meriweather's chances of winning a spot in the competition with fellow free-agent signees Tanard Jackson and Madieu Williams, holdovers Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes and seventh-round pick Jordan Bernstine.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"I lost a toddler off the size of my belly." -- Third-round guard Josh LeRibeus on losing 70 pounds in 2010, the season he was academically ineligible at SMU.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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