Like Frerotte, Cousins is bust insurance

Like Frerotte, Cousins is bust insurance
May 1, 2012, 11:22 am
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I am trying to remember the last time thee was as much hysteria over a fourth-round draft pick as there has been over the Redskins selection of Kirk Cousins. I cant. I honestly believe that Mike Shanahan would have been under less fire if he has just passed on the pick and not taken a player there at all.A multitude of different arguments agains the pick have been made. Some, such as saying that the Redskins could better have used the pick on another area of need, are debatable. Others, like Skip Bayless inserting a racial component into the pick, are just hysterical and stupid.The one I want to look at here is that this is a repeat of 1994, when the Redskins drafted Heath Shuler third overall and then came back and took Gus Frerotte in the seventh.Veteran John Friesz started the first four games of the season before Shuler was thrown into the fray against the Super Bowl champion Cowboys. The result was a highly predictable 34-7 beatdown. His grip on the starting job lasted for all of three games before Norv Turner, out of the blue, started Frerotte in the eighth game of the season against the Colts in Indianapolis.Frerottes performance in the 41-27 win earned him offensive player of the week honors. That created a controversy that lasted a year and a half and ended up with Shuler first being benched and then shipped to New Orleans for a mid-round draft pick.The conventional NFL wisdom is that picking a quarterback in the top five who busts is a death sentence for an NFL franchise. It is supposed to set a team back for years.But a funny thing happened to the Redskins when Shulers career cratered. They got better. While nobody was forgetting the glory days under Joe Gibbs, they were in contention for the playoffs until the last weekend of the season in both 1996 and 1997.They were able to remain competitive in large part because they had drafted bust insurance. They had a young quarterback ready to go when Shuler demonstrated that he couldnt get it done.The mistake wasnt drafting Frerotte, the mistake was drafting Shuler. Whether it was intentional or not, the Frerotte selection was a stroke of genius. Gus ended up starting games for seven different teams in his 15-year NFL career that ended just four years ago.Nobody thinks that Robert Griffin III will be another Shuler. But reality is that history says that there is a chance, perhaps as high as 50 percent, that RG3 will join Shuler on the scrap heap of NFL history.If the unthinkable happens, who would you rather have take the snaps, Rex Grossman or whatever other quarterback you could find on the street or someone like Cousins, who could provide a long-term solution?