In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will take a look at the Redskins’ rookies, grade their performance in 2012 and take a look at their future prospects. Today, we’re examining quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Drafted: Fourth round (102nd).
Stats: Three regular season games played, one start, 68.8-completion percentage, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
2012: As the backup to Robert Griffin III, Cousins wasn’t supposed to play much this season. As it turned out, though, the Michigan State product was pressed into duty in four games, including the playoffs, after RG3 got injured. Not only did Cousins appear prepared and capable, he helped orchestrate critical victories against Baltimore and Cleveland. In his first career start against the Browns, Cousins displayed mental toughness by overcoming a first quarter interception and finishing with 329 yards passing and a pair of touchdown in a 38-21 road victory.
Prospects: Pundits questioned the Redskins for selecting Cousins 100 spots after drafting Griffin. But with RG3’s propensity for injuries and his status for the start of the 2013 season uncertain, the move suddenly seems awfully savvy. If the reigning NFC East champs must turn to Cousins, even if for only a few games, he’s proved to the coaching staff (and, perhaps more important, to the locker room) that he can win as a starter in the NFL. The one knock on him would be his interception total. Although Cousins completed 33 of his 48 pass attempts, the three picks he tossed were just two fewer than Griffin – and RG3 threw 345 more times. The prevailing sentiment, however, is that given Cousins’ football acumen and study habits it won’t be a long-term issue.