Most of the quarterback talk heading into the NFL Draft will be on focused on Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. As it should be — they are the undisputed top two overall picks. But, as is the case most years, there are some other interesting options out there for teams that are looking to pick up a signal-caller. One of those names in Kirk Cousins, who just wrapped up his career at Michigan State. Cousins threw for more than 3,300 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this past season as the Spartans made the inaugural Big Ten title game. Cousins posted nearly 9,200 yards with 66 touchdowns and 30 picks for his career. He believes he’s going to be drafted in the second round, but could sneak into the first.
Kirk Cousins joined 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland with Bull and Fox to discuss playing for Mark Dantonio, the pre-draft process, meeting with the Cleveland Browns, what scouts are saying about him, if he looks at mock drafts, what he’s hearing about where he’ll go in the draft and if there is a perfect scenario out there for him.
What was it like playing for coach Mark Dantonio?:
“At the end of the day, what’s very important for a player to understand is that Coach Dantonio cares about you as a person. He’s not going to use you to get to where he wants to go. He may have his disagreements with you at times, but at the end of the day he cares about you and he wants to see you have success, not only on the football field but off the football field.”
What has the pre-draft process gone like for you?:
“What I’ve enjoyed about the process is everywhere I’ve gone, I felt like I helped myself. Whether it was the week at the Senior Bowl, I felt like I came away having helped myself. The NFL combine, my pro day, individual workouts, team visits — I’m a guy that has nothing to hide and I think that the more that teams get a chance to take a look at me, get to know me and evaluate me, the better I’m going to be come draft day. I think this process has been good for me. … At the same time, it’s a very long process. … It’s constant evaluation. It never stops. The toughest thing is that the perspective of teams tends to be, ‘Why should we not draft you?’ as opposed to, ‘Why should we draft you?’”
Have you visited with the Cleveland Browns?:
“I have not. I don’t have one scheduled to visit with them. They came up to pro day. I visited with a bunch of their staff at the combine, including their head coach, Coach Shurmur.”
What is the negative that the scouts seem to stick you with?:
“It’s interesting because everybody has a different opinion of what your strengths and your weaknesses are. For me, I’m not a guy who’s 6-4, 240 pounds or a guy who runs a 4.4 or a 4.5. I think sometimes the size, the speed, those physical components are things that I don’t have. … I don’t know that that’s the most important thing for a quarterback in the NFL, but it’s certainly something they’re taking a look at. Beyond that, I think there are a lot of positives. I think that I’ve played a lot of football at Michigan State and won a lot of games and had a lot of productivity.”
Do you ever sneak a peak at the mock drafts that are out there?:
“It’s certainly hard to completely avoid it. You’re going to catch wind of where people have you projected to go. It’s impossible to avoid it entirely. I was advised early in the process to not pay much energy or attention to those projections and I think I’ve done a good job of staying out of it for the most part. What I’m trying to listen to is when my agent speaks to NFL teams and tries to get an honest opinion of where they see me going.”
What are you hearing right now?:
“I think certainly there’s a wide range, but the second round is a place where I can see myself going. Not to be too much of a dreamer, but I think that’s a realistic spot for me. I think that means I could go in the third round. I think that means I could sneak up into the first round.”
Would you rather go someplace where the team might not be as good but you can play now or go to a team that is solid with an established quarterback and wait your turn?:
“At the end of the day, what I want is long-term success — long-term success for the franchise I’m a part of and long-term success for myself in my career. I’m not sure what that means as far as the best situation coming out of the draft. Clearly for Aaron Rodgers, the best situation for long-term success was to sit behind Brett Favre, to watch and to learn and then to go win a Super Bowl when Brett left. … For Ben Roethlisberger, it was clearly a good option for him to go in and play right away. Eli Manning did much the same thing. It depends on where you are. I think there’s a lot to be gained from being around a veteran that is willing to share his wisdom. … Not to say it has to be for a long time, but to have a guy around I think helps a great deal.”