A year ago on this day, the sanity of the Redskins was questioned. I did it, you did it, we all did it.
After investing heavily in Robert Griffin III through both what they gave up in their trade with the Rams and the first-round pick itself, three rounds later they drafted another quarterback: Kirk Cousins. For days and weeks, that spawned supreme idiocy among the talking head clowns. Leading that group was an ESPN personality who shall remain nameless as he questioned how much the Cousins pick would damage Griffin psychologically due to the supposed competition it created. Because, you know, NFL franchises routinely give up multiple first-round picks for a player, and then have said player hold a clipboard.
But at the time, there was another argument against the Cousins pick, one that was steeped in much more logic. The only way the Redskins would see any value at all from Cousins is in the nightmare scenario of Griffin suffering a serious injury. Otherwise, he’d sit…and sit.
Now we have this fun thing called hindsight to tell us that capitalizing on fourth-round value to catch a falling quarterback is wise, especially when your starter plays an effective yet dangerous scrambling game. If Griffin isn’t healthy enough to start early next fall, Cousins is a much more than capable temporary replacement.
Today, the Giants Kirk Cousin’ed Ryan Nassib.
Sure, there are different circumstances. Or at least that’s one way to look at the Giants’ trade up with the Cardinals early in the fourth round to land Nassib (they moved up six spots while giving Arizona their sixth-round pick). Instead, I think there are better circumstances in New York to justify the Nassib pick than there were a year ago with Cousins in Washington. Much better.
Eli Manning is the quarterback there. You may know him, and he’s currently under contract through the 2015 season, when he’ll be 35. This is when the Nassib pick begins to make a whole lot of sense, especially when we remember that like Matt Barkley, there was chatter of him being a second-round pick, and yet he was still available on Saturday.
Manning has clearly been incredibly durable, and including the playoffs he owns the longest consecutive starts streak by an active quarterback. Dating back to his rookie year, he’s started in 146 straight games. Eventually, though, the laws of nature and the evil grasp of father time could take over. Enter Nassib.
Late last season, there was talk of Manning lacking velocity on his throws, and his struggles were evident to even the most casual observer. There was mention of him suffering from “dead arm“, a characterization usually reserved for pitchers.
If Manning ever goes down, the Giants’ quarterback depth chart was similar to the one formerly held by the Steelers: poor, at best. David Carr would have stepped in, or (*covers eyes*) Curtis Painter. Now, much like Cousins in Washington, they have a mid-round pick to take that backup title, and keep the offense moving.
But more importantly, Nassib gives the Giants’ front office both peace of mind, and positional flexibility. Gauging the possible decline of an aging quarterback is difficult, so now general manage Jerry Reese has insured himself against a potential — though unlikely — abrupt fall.
There’s also the ability to groom and develop Nassib, and then gauge the trade market a few years from now. Every March there are always teams desperate for a quarterback, and the best backups in the league are routinely part of the discussion. This year, there was talk of Ryan Mallett heading to Cleveland, and the Patriots wanted a second-round pick. In 2009, Matt Cassel did enough in his one season filling in for Tom Brady to be included in a package which landed New England — yes, that jedi Belichick again — a first rounder from Kansas City.
So Nassib brings value through several avenues, the greatest of which is the fact that a quarterback rumored as a first rounder was available at 110th overall.