I saw Cousins play at Michigan State a good bit. Very good college player with a nice arm, mechanically sound, tough, good leader, rugged competitor, and got more victories out of that team than it had any right to given the talent level. Cousins was also very well coached by one of the most underrated college coaches in the game, a guy who would win a national title with the talent that is being wasted at a lot of these top programs. I don't see Cousins being a starting NFL QB - largely because he has already overachieved just by being a very good college one - but if he is, I wouldn't be shocked.
So what is the problem with getting someone who will at least be a very good backup and could potentially be a starter? Simple: the Redskins used their 4th round pick - in a draft where they didn't have a 2nd rounder - on a guy who will never play. Look, Robert Griffin III is the real deal. As great as his Heisman-winning 2011 season was, his 2010 season - when Baylor wasn't as good and was still learning how to win, fighting to extricate themselves from their 15 year bowl drought - was in some ways even more impressive. Don't get me wrong: Griffin III did improve his game from 2010 to 2011, and the increased win total and better stats reflect that. But it is what Griffin III did in 2010 with a lesser team against a tougher schedule in his first year back from a catastrophic knee injury that should make everyone know that Griffin III is the right guy to lead the Redskins' rebuilding project around.
Meanwhile, there were players that could have helped the Redskins win games - something that Cousins won't do - that were available. Example: Griffin III's teammate, OG/C Philip Blake, who went a few picks later to the Broncos. Bobbie Massie, the RT with the second round grade who went to the Cardinals. None of this "they don't fit the Redskins' blocking scheme system" nonsense. Who says that they had to be starters on the OL for the next 10 years? The goal is to get guys who can get into the rotation and be competent NOW while you are trying to rebuild that Denver line, which you obviously don't have. Massie may be rigid and slow-footed, but he can get in there and play for Jammal Brown in the likely event that Brown gets injured. Cousins can't. So, would using your 4th rounder on an OL that can fill in as a stopgap for a couple of years and then be replaced later superior to using it on a backup QB that will spend the next 10 years on the bench? YES!
And not just help for the OL either. You had Orson Charles, 1st round talent at TE, sitting right there. Don't pretend as if there is any reason to have all this faith in Fred Davis and Chris Cooley. Or if you wanted a defense guy: take your pick. Maybe none of the defenders that the Redskins passed up in the 4th round will be stars, but had it been someone like CB Brandon Boykin or CB (who can also play safety) Ron Brooks, it would have been someone who would have actually played. Yes, they took an LB in the 4th, but why not take another? The 'Skins run a 3-4 defense and you can never have too many! London Fletcher can't play forever, plus some of the players in the 2 deep are just guys. You could even argue that they should have used the Kirk Cousins pick to get Alameda Ta'amu to join the DL rotation.
The 'Skins could have gotten their backup QB of the future next season when they will have more picks and fewer needs (as I expect that the 'Skins will win their salary cap arbitration case, and even if they don't the salary cap is going to go up substantially next season anyway). And I don't buy the "there wasn't anyone available but backups" nonsense. The Redskins need depth, especially at OL, RB, LB and in the secondary. Also, backups at other positions actually play, even if only on special teams, and can become starters down the line. Getting a backup QB in the 4th is a luxury for a Super Bowl contender with a QB over 30. It should never be done for a team fighting to make the playoffs whose starting QB is 22.
And no, the "he is insurance for Robert Griffin III even if we won't come out and admit it" angle is bogus also. The Browns were willing to give up just as much as the Redskins did, and the Dolphins badly wanted the guy too. Griffin III would have been the first player taken in every recent draft except the last 2 and the Eli Manning/Philip Rivers/Ben Roethlisberger draft of 2004. If Shanahan didn't draft "insurance" for Jay Cutler in 2006 - a guy taken solely on potential if there ever was one - he wasn't going to for a much higher rated player this time around. Also, while I did state that it wouldn't shock me if Cousins became a starting NFL QB, you don't draft overachievers who may well have peaked in college to be potential starters. If Robert Griffin III doesn't play this year, Rex Grossman does. If Griffin III doesn't pan out down the line, the Redskins replace him long term with a #1 pick or a big time free agent. So there is no scenario where Cousins is the Redskins' starting QB unless he plays far above his actual ability in the NFL the way that he did in college. While that has a chance of happening, the chance that Griffin III pans out is far higher.
Simply put, you don't take a Kyle Orton - except that Orton is taller with a stronger arm and was a better prospect than Cousins when he came out - to be "insurance" against anything, because you can get a veteran guy like that for cheap in free agency. The "he is insurance" people need to realize that there is a far greater chance that A) both will pan out and B) Griffin III will pan out but Cousins won't and C) both Griffin III and Cousins will be busts than D) Griffin III busts but Cousins pans out. Griffin III failing AND Cousins panning out is BY FAR THE LEAST LIKELY SCENARIO. So anyone in the Redskins organization who viewed Cousins as insurance wouldn't last a week in the insurance industry.
Let's face it: for all his merits Cousins was still the last QB to be picked in the first 4 rounds. After Cousins, the next QB to get drafted was Ryan Lindley late in round 6, and there was a reason for that. Looks like the Redskins were determined to come away with depth at QB in this draft, saw everyone else desirable gone, panicked, and reached for a guy who if everything goes well will never help the team actually win games over a guy who could have gotten much needed minutes at OL or in the secondary this season. It was a bad decision, period.