1. When the Washington Redskins selected quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the NFL draft this past weekend, talking heads around the country got the scratching of a lifetime. This just confirms what we all suspected over the last few years: nobody but us is watching the Redskins.
2. We are without first round choices in the next two drafts. I understand that the conventional wisdom, echoed by Peter King in this morning's MMQB, is that Cousins won't turn into a top-flight prospect in the minds of other teams by backing up Rex Grossman and Robert Griffin III. I also understand that there was at least one offensive line prospect on the board (Bobby Massie) that could have potentially contributed more to the team. I don't think the Shanahans picked Cousins with the sole intention of trading him, but I do think that Cousins could represent the kind of bargaining chip in trade discussions that the Redskins have lacked. Even so, I don't think this pick was pure luxury.
3. We all know that the Washington coaches got comfortable with Cousins at the Senior Bowl. None of us would have guessed that this comfort level would have been to the degree where they would be compelled to draft him even with Robert Griffin in the fold. For those that listen to the most ghetto fabulous podcast on the planet--the Hogs Haven Staff Meeting Podcast--you heard last week that Steve Shoup, UK, and myself definitely viewed that extra fourth rounder as a quasi-luxury pick. (None of us was prepared to use it on a quarterback.) Here's my Kool-Aid analysis: If you're Mike and Kyle Shanahan, you think you can take a guy with raw talent and mold him into an NFL starter. It's like flipping a house. You buy low and sell high. You believe that the work you can put into your investment will significantly increase its value. Unlike the current housing market, NFL quarterbacks are still a piping hot commodity. All that said, a LOT has to go your way to be able to flip a quarterback. I am guessing we have all watched enough HGTV to know full well what a miserable game it is to flip houses. Here's hoping the Shanahans fare better at flipping quarterbacks (oh man...now THAT is a great show idea.)
4. Collecting young, promising quarterbacks is not something the Redskins should be taking a lot of heat over in my opinion. Unless you have forked over your hard-earned money only to be treated to the likes of Tony Banks, John Friesz or--cough--Danny Wuerffel, save your criticism for a later date. Unless you have tailgated your butt off in the parking lot and then gone inside the stadium only to have your buzz killed by the likes of John Beck, Shane Matthews or--ahem--Rob Johnson, please try and hold off for at least a few months. Unless you have pinned your hopes to Kent Graham, Jeff George or--ohgodohgodohgod--Heath Shuler, try and keep an open mind here.
5. If Mike Shanahan thinks Cousins has the tools to run his offense, and if Mike Shanahan is able to develop those skills in the next 11-12 months, Cousins' value goes WAY up--to the Redskins as well as the rest of the NFL. He becomes the obvious choice to succeed Rex Grossman as the primary backup in that scenario, while also attracting potential suitors. I don't think you make a move like this without a plan to do EVERYTHING in your power to develop the crap out of Cousins. I don't think you make a move like this without the thought that this guy could easily end up as your starter depending on which scenarios transpire.
6. You can't have this discussion without at least mentioning the injury possibilities surrounding a franchise quarterback with the tendencies of an RG3. The fact of the matter is that he can get hurt playing the way he does. Injuries are a reality in the NFL, but without Cousins, the Redskins future would continue to be dependent on Rex Grossman being one play away from the field. How long do you want to live in that world? And as long as we are facing our worst fears here, let's recognize that the kind of injury a mobile quarterback would likely incur is more serious than a sprained ankle. If and when RG3 would be forced to miss time, it would almost certainly be extended time. I would feel a lot better having a backup plan that consisted of a guy hand-picked to groom in our system as opposed to going year-to-year with a Grossman or a veteran free agent. If that is the least Cousins can provide us at this point, I am going to take it and run.
Back-of-the-fridge Busch Light bonus: (Sometimes when you think you have run out of beer, there is a random Busch Light in the crisper or on the door of the fridge hiding behind some salad dressing.) Good teams constantly develop quarterbacks. We have tried, but mostly failed. If the selection of Cousins is even partly tied to the notion that we can start trying to flip quarterbacks for draft picks in the coming years, consider this my standing ovation. Any subsequent controversy that could result from having two good quarterbacks is very, very much welcomed by me.