I tried to stop myself from writing this post. I spun around in my office chair a few times, read a few chapters from my copy of In a Heartbeat that’s inexplicably sitting on my desk, and then I went to local merchants and pretended that I was recently fired from jobs I never had.
Yet here we are, talking about Kirk Cousins again. I promise it’ll be the last time, unless another high-profile columnist tries to sneak a little quip by us that totally disrespects all sense of logic and reason.
This time, though, I’m sort of going to say something pleasant about a pick that still makes no sense. We’ve reached the middle of the post-draft week, a time when the heavy fog of the draft hangover slowly begins to subside. As my own raging migraine has lifted, I’ve slowly been catching up on draft-related reading from earlier this week, and most of the items related to Cousins read much like my own elongated rant posted sometime Saturday afternoon when I blacked out.
The Redskins are repeatedly saying that Cousins’ value in the fourth round was irresistible, and that getting youthful depth at the most important offensive position was paramount. But the logic of using a mid-round pick on a player who in the best case scenario will never see the field has been heavily questioned, especially after the steep price paid to move up and draft Robert Griffin III.
The critics have far outnumbered the defenders, but among the fierce Cousins supporters is Ken Meringolo at Hogs Haven, who fired a half dozen points back at the naysayers like myself. Meringolo wrote about the likelihood that Cousins will be groomed and used as trade bait (complete with a house flipping analogy), and he listed the long, sorry list of QBs that ‘Skins fans have had to endure to illustrate the need for depth at the position.
All valid points, although we’ll agree to disagree. However, there was a prime example of how not to argue against the Cousins pick if you’re a national NFL columnist writing on a widely-viewed platform.
So please, tell us why you think the Cousins pick is problematic, ESPN’s Ashley Fox:
At some point this season, Griffin will struggle. It is inevitable. And when he does, a fan base that is desperate for a winner will start calling for Cousins. They will want a 23rd starting quarterback in 20 seasons, not the chosen 22nd, and that won’t help the Redskins at all.
Fox is certainly correct with one simple point there. Struggles are inherently part of life as a rookie quarterback, something that can’t be avoided no matter how many Heisman trophies said rookie had in his college career, or how many records he shattered. Cam Newton is the exception, not the norm.
But the mere existence of the perception that Redskins fans won’t be patient with RG3, and will call for Cousins at the first sign of a struggle is baffling. Were Panthers fans ready to resume the Jimmy Clausen era if Newton struggled too heavily? Sure, they had already seen Clausen’s mediocre play, and Cousins has only been a Redskin for four days. Clausen, though, was a second-round pick in the previous draft, two rounds ahead of Cousins.
No, Clausen was never a thought, let alone a threat. Yet columnists like Fox and men like Skip Bayless who are paid to talk loudly believe that Cousins is more NFL ready than Griffin, and he’s therefore a legitimate locker room problem. There will be feuding and bitterness, they say, and the Cousins pick was little more than a grandstanding move by Mike Shanahan.
Rip the Redskins for wasting a fourth-round pick on a player who may never see the field during a regular-season game in a Washington uniform. Rip them for essentially spending five picks on quarterbacks in one draft (four on Griffin after drafting him and trading up for him, and one on Cousins). Rip them for drafting Cousins a month after Rex Grossman was re-signed.
But any rippage for creating some kind of quarterback controversy is asinine, and is little more than uneducated blather. The employment status of Shanahan and every front office member in Washington is riding on RG3′s arm after the price they paid to acquire him, so he’ll be given plenty of opportunities to fail, succeed, and fail again.
Throughout that process Cousins will be an asset, and possibly a future trade chip. Not a threat.