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Leaders in the Late Rounds: Kirk Cousins

Patience..patience..patience. He can't preach it enough and we as Redskins fans couldn't be happier with his attitude on and off the field. He's the first guy to congratulate the offense after a touchdown and the first guy to give them a pat on the back after a punt. He's Kirk Cousins, and he plays his role as a leader well.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins, 6'3", 209 lbs.

QB, Michigan State University

College Stats:

Passing Yards: 9,131

Passing pct: 64.1%

Passing efficiency rating: 146.1

Touchdowns: 66

Honors: Second Team All-Big Ten (2011), Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (2009,2010), Senior CLASS Award

Rookie Season: Drafted in 2012 by the Redskins in the 4th rd. 102 overall

Passing Yards: 466

Passing pct: 68.8

QB rating: 101.6

Touchdowns: 4

Honors: Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week (Week 15, 2012)

It's hard to be a rookie in the NFL, it's even harder to gain any spotlight when you have Alfred Morris and RGIII in front of you. The Washington Redskins had arguably one of the best (if not the best) rookie tandems in NFL history. However, they weren't the only two to shine on the Redskins high-powered offense.

Kirk Cousins was drafted in the 4th round much to the surprise of Redskins fans, if you're like me you wondered why draft another rookie QB after taking the Heisman winner 2nd overall? Well, as every NFL fan Shanahan in the draft. The man who drafted Terrell Davis, Clinton Portis, and now Alfred Morris has seemed to find yet another gem in the late rounds.

Cousins isn't out there to attract media attention, although he doesn't shy away from the camera. He embraced his role as the backup and was ready to come in when the team depended on him. In the second preseason game, against the Bears, Cousins lit up the sky with 3 TD's in the 4th quarter finishing 15-27 with 222 yards. RGIII was the first to congratulate his comrade.

His regular season NFL debut came in a week 5 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, throwing a 77-yard bomb to Santana Moss. His second appearance came in week 14 against the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Late in the 4th, RGIII suffered a knee injury. Cousins came in and went 2-2 and finished the drive with an 11-yard TD to Garcon with half a minute on the clock. With the Redskins down by 2, every fan in the stadium expected a pass, but Shanahan calls for a Run/Pass option, Cousins gracefully stumbles into the end zone to tie it. We went on to win that game after Crawford took off for a 64-yard punt return, setting up the GW field goal.

He gained his first start in week 15 against the Cleveland Browns. It was a slow start and less than thrilling first half, only to set up his offense to a 28 point second half. Connecting with Leonard Hankerson on two of those touchdowns, giving great confidence to the team heading in towards the playoffs.

It's rare you find guys like this who are happy to play a back up role, and come in without a chip on their shoulder, Cousins knew he would get his chance. He studied the offense diligently and spoke up in QB meetings as is evident in his performances. Quarterbacks are the leaders of professional sports, through their enthusiasm and competitive edge the team rallies behind them en route to a victory. Cousins emphasizes both of these traits, quietly, while the media shows attention to the never-ending talent of RGIII. I'm aware there were trade rumors circulating early in the spring regarding Cousins, but for now let's just be thankful with the talent he's helped produce and will continue to do so. I along with most Redskins fans understand the team wouldn't be as competitive without his help.

It's a privilege to play in the NFL, one that Kirk Cousins has recognized early on. See for yourself.