Saturday, April 28, 2012
Competition already for Robert Griffin III?
By Dan Graziano
So, this is interesting.
The Washington Redskins have made only three picks so far in this year's NFL draft, and two of them are quarterbacks. With the seventh pick in the fourth round Saturday, the Redskins selected Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins. Two nights ago, with the second pick in the entire draft, they picked Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Michigan State's Kirk Cousins is the second quarterback the Washington Redskins have taken in the 2012 NFL draft.
I guess the first thing you say here is that quarterback was a pretty extreme weakness for the Redskins last year. And as we all know, it's very important to be deep at the position. If the Redskins believed Cousins represented good value at pick 102 (as he probably does), then you can sort of understand their thinking. They have a guy they can develop in a backup role and maybe use as a chip down the road, and in the meantime they have a talented guy who may be able to step in if Griffin gets hurt and has to miss time.
But I don't love it, because when you break this down, it means the Redskins have used a total of five draft picks on two quarterbacks. They had to trade this year's first-rounder, this year's second-rounder and their first-rounders in each of the next two years to trade up to No. 2 and select Griffin. And now they've used one of this year's fourth-rounders on Cousins.
It's not as though the Redskins don't have other needs they could be addressing here. They need to beef up on the offensive line, and they still could use help on defense in the secondary. They have another pick coming up here in a few minutes, No. 14 in the fourth round, and I imagine they'll use it on some other position. But in the meantime, I just don't think, given their needs, that backup quarterback was the way to go with their first pick in the fourth round.
Also, it will be important for Mike Shanahan and the Redskins' coaching staff to establish a clear set of roles here. The fans of the Redskins have been used to finding fault with their team's quarterback play for quite a while now, and if Griffin struggles and starts throwing interceptions, as excited as everyone is about him now, you know there will be calls right away to see what Cousins can do. That's not a recipe for total comfort for the rookie quarterback you spent four high draft picks to get, and it becomes Shanahan's job to make sure that Griffin, Cousins and everybody else who's asking knows what the pecking order is -- that Griffin is the starter and Cousins is the backup. If he doesn't, then this pick has created a problem that didn't need to exist, and done so even before the Redskins have introduced their exciting new starting quarterback to their fans.