Kirk Cousins – future Seahawks quarterback?

January 24th, 2012 | Written by Rob Staton

Kirk Cousins, seen here with a ball glued to his left wrist

One of the more intriguing prospects at the Senior Bowl this week is Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins. Draft Countown’s Shane Hallam reported yesterday that scouts from Seattle spoke to Cousins after yesterday’s opening practise and reports from the work out were fairly positive. Tony Pauline mentioned in his day one round-up, “Cousins showed a big league arm all day, powering the ball into targets and getting passes through the tight windows.  He was relatively accurate for the most part and did a solid job.”     

NFL Draft Scout’s Rob Rang was similarly positive, noting, “Cousins out-shined Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson and Boise State’s Kellen Moore by attacking all levels of a talented North defense. His experience in a pro-style offense was obvious as he made quick decisions, showed accuracy short, middle and deep and thread the needle through tight spaces. Whereas his teammates struggled to find a rhythm with their new receiving corps, Cousins was hitting on all cylinders, spreading the ball all over the field and hitting his backs, tight ends and receivers on a variety of routes.”     

Scott Enyeart added to the intrigue yesterday, tweeting: “(Pete) Carroll has been evaluating Kirk Cousins since this summer at the Elite 11 camp in Malibu, where Kirk was a counselor.” Clearly this is a quarterback we need to monitor during the next few weeks and certainly he appears to be on Seattle’s radar.     

My own view on Cousins is mixed. In many ways, I think he could be the fourth best quarterback in this class after Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Brock Osweiler. Trying to explain why that might be the case is the hard part. Truly he is not a quarterback with a selection of defining, obvious talents. Really, he’s just pretty good across the board. He’s not physically outstanding, weighing just 209lbs at the combine in a modest 6-2 frame, but he has got a surprising punch to his throws and flashes natural talent as a passer, even if he occasionally trusts his arm a little too much. He’s adept at play-action and does a great job selling the fake, but he’s also shown a degree of comfort on bootleg’s and roll outs. Brilliant performances such as the Spartans 37-31 victory against unbeaten Wisconsin (Cousins: 22-31, 290 yards & 3TD’s) are off-set by the occasional head scratcher, such as the titanic struggle against Nebraska (11-27, 86 yards, 0TD’s and an interception). I contacted Michael Wilson from the ‘Little Brother’ Spartans Blog for his take on the team’s quarterback:     

“He is a guy who just finds a way to win. Never been the biggest, fastest, strongest at any point in his career, but still made the most of everything he can do. He commands the offense well and is a good field general. I’ve heard his teammates say when he speaks in the huddle there is just a great level of certainty and confidence and trust. As for his skill set, nothing jumps out at you really. But he does just about everything well. His arm strength is really good (not elite, but above average), he can thread the needle well and does so with confidence (especially this season). He has decent mobility, but does not often pull the ball down and run. He has nice straight-line speed, isn’t going to cut and stiff arm or anything to break for huge yardage. I can recall a couple of 20-yard runs in his career.     

“MSU runs a pro-style offense (and likes to run) with plenty of play action and snaps under center for Cousins, but this year opened it up a lot more. He does best on timing routes and makes very quick decisions. He will struggle, though, when protection breaks down quickly and nothing is open. That is when he struggles with mechanics and will throw off his back foot. Bottom line: As a fan, I will miss seeing him play for MSU. He is a winner. He is a guy who you take pride in playing for your team. And above all, you are really comfortable with him as a quarterback.”     

One thing that stood out from Michael’s answer was the comment about throwing off the back foot, as it’s something I picked up on when noting Cousins during 2010 scouting. Last July I wrote: “It appears Cousins resorts to throwing off the back foot under pressure, which in turn also impacts his accuracy. When he feels the rush he sits back and spears the ball. Given his agility in the pocket you’d like to see a little less panic, stepping up into the pocket and driving the pass. I think he could be more composed which will ultimately lead to better technique. The one player he reminds me of in this regard is Kevin Kolb. Similar release, size and mobility. Neither are severely limited but don’t have the big-time physical skills. Given a nice collection of playmakers, both can succeed. Kolb was drafted with the 36th pick in 2007 and it wouldn’t surprise me come next April if we see Cousins go in a similar area.”     

Although I never much rated Kolb, I was surprised how little success he had in Arizona throwing to Larry Fitzgerald. I watched the Cardinals three times this year and noticed a common trait within Kolb’s play – his tendency to check-down too often and avoid risk despite having an elite receiver who consistently bails out the quarterback. He’s always shown a tentative streak as evidenced in this edition of NFL Playbook from 2o10, but that’s where Cousins differs. Thankfully, he’s willing to take a few more risks and he’ll need to if he’s to succeed where Kolb has failed so far in fleeting starting opportunities. At the same time – as I’ll discuss in the tape breakdown later – there are certain throws Cousins needs to learn to avoid.   

I watched and noted Cousins’ performance in week two of the 2011 season when MSU faced Florida Atlantic. “He drops back with a degree of comfort and in the shotgun and sets to throw with the ease of a seasoned pro. Cousins’ has a great grasp of play action and can both sell it and execute. When he’s forced to move around in the pocket he’s capable and he’ll extend plays while keeping his eyes downfield. Last season there were occasional errors trying to force the issue under pressure, but this was a cupcake game and he wasn’t tested. He isn’t a threat to break off runs and he’s exclusively elusive rather than a scrambler. I have noticed a tendency to panic on inside pressure, often throwing high to his right when rushed up the middle or taking an unnecessary sack. He’s much better against the edge rush, detecting the defender and making room to throw.”     

It’s worth highlighting the intangible aspects before we get into the tape, because Cousins has battled to succeed during his career. Andy Staples at Sports Illustrated wrote an interesting piece discussing his battle to make the college ranks before eventually landing with the Spartans:     

“Cousins quickly became the face of the Spartans. After sports information director John Lewandowski nominated Cousins to speak for the athletes at Big Ten media day in August, Cousins became the face of the Big Ten and — to some — the smiling face of what is right about college football in a time when scandals dominate the headlines. Cousins happily accepts the role. No amount of attention will change him. ‘”He doesn’t have to just be a great quarterback,” Dantonio said. “He’s going to be a great husband, a great father, a great community leader. The guy just sort of has it as a person.’”     

If you want to see what all the fuss is about with regard to that Big Ten media day appearance, I’ve added the video of Cousins’ speech below. Clearly, we’re talking about a confident individual whose personality will appeal to the NFL. As Michael Wilson puts it: “That video epitomizes him — character through the roof. Intelligence through the roof — he plans on going to med school and won an $18K postgrad scholarship from the National Football Foundation. He won the Lowe’s Senior Class Award. He was a captain for three seasons at MSU — even before he was named the starter in his sophomore season. In a sentence: He is that guy you love representing your school/team.”     

      

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Let’s get into the game tape. Below I’ve added Cousins’ performances against Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio State from 2011. I’ll break down certain plays in note form following each video:    

      

vs Indiana   

0:01 – Good, sharp drop-back, identifies his target quickly and delivers the ball for a first down.     

0:08- Effortless deep throw, precision delivery in behind a defensive back allowing the receiver to make a play in stride. Such a difficult throw to defend and the kind Seattle wants to use. Technique here is fundamentally sound, throws off the front foot and a nice spiral. Impressive.     

0:24 – Another crisp drop-back, make a good read and delivers a nice pass to the right sideline.     

0:45 – Excellent play fake executed to perfection and although the deep pass is relatively simple, he doesn’t throw it too conservatively allowing the receiver to continue moving and complete the score.     

1:33- A lot of this touchdown is down to the work of Keshawn Martin (a senior receiver worth keeping an eye on) but Cousins does a great job identifying the coverage and purposely throwing high to make sure only the receiver can make a play. A necessary adjustment and good instincts and feel for the position.   

2:16- This isn’t a good pass, thrown dangerously behind the receiver and without much velocity. That throw has to be arrowed to the left shoulder, closer to the sideline. It’s not a difficult throw that demands a high degree of accuracy. This was a missed opportunity and almost led to a turnover.     

3:23- Evidence of struggles vs interior pressure. I sense Cousins just throws this away, or at least throws high to avoid the turnover and make it difficult for anyone to grab in the end zone. He actually had a checkdown to the left but never looks in that direction, focusing entirely on the end zone.     

3:28 – Inaccurate throw to the end zone. Really needed to get more air on the ball and direct it to the far right corner. This is too short and makes the receiver stop to jump for the ball, when a slightly deeper throw would’ve caught him in stride.     

      

vs Wisconsin   

0:01 – Well executed play fake and a nice touch pass with a little more air to make the completion.     

0:06 & 1:01- Evidence of greater confidence throwing over the middle. Cousins was a bit of a ‘sideline’ thrower in 2010, but these are the kind of throws he has to make at the next level.     

0:21- Throws into a really tight window, but executes and hits the receiver on an inside slant.     

0:44 – Cousins completely sells the toss, runs the bootleg to the right and hits the open receiver for a touchdown. It’s an easy throw, but only because of the perfect execution on the play fake. Nicely done.   

1:22 – Similar throw to the play vs Indiana, the ball leaves the quarterbacks hands before the receiver cuts to the right – just excellent awareness and chemistry, plus good accuracy on the throw.     

1:47 – I’m not entirely sure what to make of this throw. The read says triple coverage off the play action, but Cousins trusts his arm and makes the completion. It’s hard to be critical because it’s a big play, but quite risky at the same time. However, sometimes you have to back yourself and the receiver to make a play.     

2:29 – The other side of the debate, as this time Cousins trusts his arm too much and gets picked off. That is NOT a pass that should be thrown. Cousins needs to identify the double coverage and the position of the safety who has leverage over the receiver. Get out of the call and live to fight another day. Bad decision.     

2:47 – Better execution, putting enough height on the ball to make sure the defensive back wouldn’t get close to it, but also allowing the receiver to make a play.     

4:41- Another bad read and should’ve been an interception. He needs to identify the position of the defender here to the left shoulder of the receiver, facing the quarterback. If he makes that throw, the defender is going to be able to make a play for the ball and cut off the route, while the receiver is always going to struggle to react.     

      

vs Ohio State   

0:24- Cousins gets a great block to keep this play alive, but what a throw to the back of the end zone for a touchdown. It’s a laser – superb arm strength, accuracy and he actually directs his receiver to the ball before throwing.     

1:17 – Underrated throw that will impress pro-scouts. Flashes pro-drop back skills and the ability to look off to his right and snap back quickly to hit a short route to the right. Textbook quarterback play taking advantage of the deep coverage on 2nd and 17 to make a manageable third down.     

1:41 – Needed to drill this pass to avoid it being cut off by a linebacker. Makes the completion and gets the first down.     

2:45 & 5:44- Very fortunate to avoid turnovers here. A common occurrence appears to be the chances he takes on shorter routes that are almost cut off and returned for six. He needs to do a better job progressing from those reads and being a little more careful with the football. A serious concern, because it keeps flashing up on tape.     

3:48- Just one of those things with the wet ball slipping out of his hands. Every quarterback will do this at some point in their career, but he should’ve covered the ball up when it was on the turf.     

5:15 – Good initial footwork to extend the play but he has to hit the receiver in behind the defensive back. He snatched at the pass a little and rushed the throw, but he had the time and the positioning to make a higher, accurate delivery for a potential touchdown.     

6:03- Superb throw under pressure (he was hit) and delivering the ball perfectly to the right sideline for a big gain. Excellent technique and placement to dissect the corner and safety – a difficult throw to make.     

6:27 – Awful fade attempt basically tossed into the air for grabs and is deservedly intercepted. Cousins has to do better throwing the fade, it’s not good enough at the moment and needs work. Such a crucial throw at the next level that must be mastered.   

7:38 – Great pump fake, but once the defensive back bites on the play he has to make that throw. Overshoots the intended receiver.     

7:47- The worst throw and decision in any of the three games so far. Cousins just gets really sloppy here, dropping back and moving into space, before just aimlessly throwing the ball downfield straight to a defensive back. Why make that throw? Terrible decision and mistakes like that can be catastrophic in tight games.     

Conclusion     

Kirk Cousins has a lot of the natural qualities the Seahawks are looking for in a quarterback. They want to run the ball and use play action – a major strength for Cousins having played in MSU’s heavy ground attack. He’s mobile enough to run bootleg’s and roll outs, while he also has the kind of arm strength the front office have looked for so far in acquiring Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis. He’s the kind of individual teams want fronting their offense and with his technical experience in something akin to a pro-style concept, Cousins could even have a fairly reasonable impact early in his career. There are also limitations and areas for drastic improvement, particularly with decision making on shorter routes, learning to cope with inside pressure and trying to avoid throwing off the back-foot too often.     

The Seahawks seem unlikely to get their fix at quarterback in round one, but it’s almost certain they’ll eventually draft at least one player at the position in April. Cousins is being slightly underrated with some considering him merely as a late round option, but the Seahawks seemingly have enough interest and could take a look as early as round two – particularly if they are able to address a key defensive need in round one.

56 Responses to “Kirk Cousins – future Seahawks quarterback?”

  1. Ross says:

    Hey Rob – thanks for all your work here on SDB – it’s a daily stop for me. I read somewhere that the coin flip with KC has already happened and that we lost. Is that true? I haven’t seen that anywhere else which makes me question it.

    Also, Cousins is certainly intriguing and I wouldn’t mind him being the pick if PC/JS like him. What round do you see him going in, as of right now?

    Lastly, I watched a bit of Harnisch (sp?) in the Shrine game and he looked really good. He avoided pressure well in the pocket while keeping his eyes down field and delivering accurate throws. Would rate him as the #5 QB after Osweiler and Cousins?

  2. Patrick says:

    Rob, so far I’m liking what I see from Kirk Cousins. The description above sort of reminds me of Andy Dalton, but in a good way. He’s not Cam Netwon in terms of athletic ability, but he’s just solid enough across the board to win. Maybe Matt Ryan is a better comparison (Was never a fan of Dalton). And in Seattle, we simply don’t need a Vick or Newton. I think Cousins could be a very good QB for us and I’m really warming up to the idea.

    I’d be really excited if we got him in Round 2 (Don’t know if he’d slip to round 3). Here’s my question though: Brock Osweiler or Kirk Cousins?! I’ve been sold on Osweiler since you wrote about him on the 18th and think he has more upside. Would you rather grab someone else in Round 1 and then go after Cousins, or stick with Osweiler in the first and then go after defense in the 2nd. I like guys like Luke Kuechly and Courtney Upshaw potentially in the 1st.

  3. RJD says:

    Thanks again Rob, as always great analysis.
    I like this kid, he reminds me of Hasselbeck a little. How would you compare him to Matt?
    I have my heart set on Osweiler now though. I like the idea of grabbing somebody with freakish upside.

  4. Turp says:

    An aside -

    Mike Mayock’s top 5 by position:

    http://blogs.buffalobills.com/2012/01/24/mayocks-top-5-by-position/

    I’ve discovered I don’t agree with Mayock unless he’s ranking CB/S.

  5. ivotuk says:

    Love your work Rob. I’ve been excited about Kirk Cousins for awhile now and while I agree there are current limitations, I think with NFL caliber training and coaching that he could be a very good QB. He has the smarts to able to read defenses but I don’t think he’s been exposed to the really good ones all that often playing at Michigan State.

    Ryan Tannehill on the other hand, I was excited about early on but I think things came too easy for him early on and I never saw the kind of fire and leadership that Cousins demonstrates. It’s too bad too because I think he could be a good one. But if he goes in the 1st round it will only add to his ego.

    I hope they can trade back, pick up a good pass rusher and get Kirk in the 3rd. That would be perfect and would quiet all the critics while still allowing them to take an elite QB next year if the opportunity arises.

  6. Colin says:

    Cousins shows alot of natural ability. Accurate, good arm, can go from under center. Reoccuring bonehead moves though.

    Still find Osweiler a bit more appealing. Not sure why though.

  7. Attyla the Hawk says:

    I don’t know if there couldn’t be a closer prospect comparatively speaking, to the kind of prospect and person that Matt Hasselbeck was. He just seems like a mirror image of him coming out from BC. Clearly he has the force of personality that Matt did.

    Of course, he does have a full head of hair. So maybe he’s not that close after all.

  8. David says:

    Hey Rob

    I know you do alot of work on this site, and i commend you, because i read this thing least 3 or 4 times a day. but i was wondering if you could do like a 1 rd mock then maybe what you think the hawks will pick or should pick in the 2nd and 3rd or something with some Analysis, i love reading your Write ups and enjoy your scouting. if you cant then dont worry about it, just was curious.

  9. Vin says:

    Ive said it once and I ll say it again–Thanks Rob!! The SDB is just awesome. I look here every day and twice on sundays for any/all info, break downs, etc that you have. Keep up the great work, cuz like many others have said, we enjoy it. And fieldgulls is awesome too.

    Anyway, I’m liking Cousins. I wanted Luck but knew that happen. But then I really wanted Barkley, because I felt that if he came here, that would be the end of the TJax-era (Nice guy, but I dont want another season of a guy with no upside). Now that all my hopes are dashed, Im just taking in every prospect that you bring up. Im not a fan of Osweiler….not that I know any better….I just dont see him here. I like Cousins though….based off of these clips anyway. I like the arm, I like that he’s already in a Pro-Style O, and those hand off fakes are just wicked. Was hoping he was a bit taller. Would also like to see him go to his 2nd or 3rd receiver, but thats probably more to do with playcalling. Bottom line, if we can get him in the 3rd or 4th, I would be stoked.

    Thanks again Rob!!!

  10. Rob says:

    Ross – The coin flip will take place at the combine, it hasn’t been conducted yet. Harnish absolutely is the next in line after Cousins and Osweiler, at least in my view. He’s probably competing with Brandon Weeden to be #5.

    Patrick – Personally, I like Osweiler’s higher upside. I think he’s a really underrated player and the kind I hope this team will consider in the future. But I think there’s a strong chance the Seahawks go defense with their R1 pick, the big question is who do they take? Kuelchy is a little like Lofa – under sized and it’ll limit him. How does Upshaw fit into the scheme Seattle uses? Same question for guys like Coples… and do they consider adding another cornerback if that presents the greatest value. Is there a wild card out there such as Hightower or Spence. It’s going to be tough to work this year out, I wish it was a better defensive draft.

    RJD – Cousins’ arm is stronger than Matt’s and he’s a little more mobile – different frame and pysical qualities. Obviously Matt was also a very technical QB who was a student of the game, so while I think Cousins has the physical edge – Hasselbeck really was elite when it came to field IQ.

    Turp – There’s a few head scratching choices there from Mayock… but it’s early.

    Ivotuk – I completely agree on Tannehill and Cousins. You’ve nailed it there.

    Colin – agreed.

    Attyla – The hair thing could be a deal breaker… although they did trade for Whitehurst.

    David – No problem. I might consider a ‘top-16′ round two mock in tomorrow’s update. It’s hard to accurately project round two picks before even the combine, but I think it’s legitimate to consider what they might do in the next two rounds.

    Vin – thanks man, help spread the word!

  11. Patrick says:

    I tend to agree. It’s odd because on the one side I don’t see Pete Carroll & Co. reaching for a QB. John Schneider seems like he wants the best QB possible and saw what Aaron Rodgers could do. If they think a QB is a reach at #11/12, I agree they will probably shy away from picking one. On the other hand though, draft pundits across the nation accused us of reaching on just about every pick last year. The question is, who is the James Carpenter of this year’s defense for Seattle? What I mean is, what slightly lesser known draft player on defense fits our scheme so well Seattle could pull the trigger?

    I also agree on Luke Kluechy and really don’t see Seattle grabbing him. I think he’d make a good leader, but being small and not very fast doesn’t help. I suppose I’d like to see defense in Rd 1 if we don’t take Osweiler, but I’m not sure who. I think Upshaw may go before we pick (Buffalo) but I do like Michael Brockers.

    Also, with the rumors of Mike Sherman joining the Dolphins I have to wonder, could Ryan Tannehill be on their radar at #8/9?

  12. williambryan says:

    I’m liking Cousins. I would feel very comfortable that he could come in and be an instant upgrade over Jackson.

  13. What is Cousins’ ceiling without the tools? Another Andy Dalton is kinda discouraging.

  14. Rob says:

    I don’t think he’s much like Dalton – who really threw the same three passes in college repeatedly. Dalton’s mechanics were sound, his arm passable. He got drafted early because the production was good in the simple scheme, he seemingly did well in meetings and Cincy clearly believed he was capable of being a facilitator to a supreme talent like AJ Green. Yet the one thing I always came back to Dalton was the way the toys came out of the pram when the going got tough. He let mistakes get to him – whether they were mistakes on his behalf or a teammate. He’s got a streak to his character I don’t much like. Cousins has a better arm, has shown a better arrangement of passes included a better deep ball, he’s challenged more by his scheme and his character is supremely better. Both Dalton and Cousins have limited ceilings, but I gave Dalton a mid-late round grade and I’m happier giving Cousins a slightly higher R2-3 grade.

  15. dave crockett says:

    Great stuff as always Rob.

    I try not to fall into the trap of fixating on specific performances, but it’s hard. In Cousin’s case, Sparty’s horrendous bowl loss to Miss. State in 2010 made me initially dismiss him as a prospect. I thought he played quite well at times in 2011.

    Cousins’ game seems to translate well to the NFL. He’s solid-to-very good in all phases and to all levels. He’ll probably be projected 2nd or 3rd round through the combine, but could make a Dalton-like rise to the top of the 2nd or maybe even bottom of the 1st before it’s all over.

  16. dave crockett says:

    Oh… and I’m giddy with excitement about the next mock. :)

  17. Brian says:

    I know we all want a star QB, but take a look at the complete list of first round QB’s we’ve passed on in the last 5 drafts: Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Tim Tebow. To get a top QB prospect you usually need a top draft pick. Unless Washington, Miami and Cleveland all give RG3 a pass (the former two in a trade if not with their picks) we are stuck either taking a shot with Matt Flynn (or perhaps Peyton?) or drafting a lesser prospect.

    I am fine with a mid round QB as long as it isn’t someone with obvious red flags like Colt McCoy.

  18. troy says:

    Has Cousins improved his arm strength since the 2010 season? He seems to put a lot more zip on the ball than I remember him doing as a junior.

  19. Bill Bobaggins says:

    I just heard John Clayton on the radio talking about the Senior Bowl and the Hawks. He said that the most impressive QB at the Senior Bowl is Brandon Weeden. He says that he’s really impressing folks and there’s a buzz about him being a 1st rounder. Plus, all of the guys on the radio says he’s got a smokin hot wife, which will definitely help the Hawks win games!

    Rob, I’d love to hear your take on Weeden vs. Cousins (or just Weeden in general).

  20. Rob says:

    Troy – It’s definitely improved.

    Bill Bobaggins – Weeden in round one? Can’t see that, sounds a bit of an exageration for a guy who has some obvious skills but also some limitations and he’ll be a 29-year-old rookie. I compiled a tape review here if you want to check it out: http://seahawksdraftblog.com/breaking-down-brandon-weeden-qb-oklahoma-state

  21. williambryan says:

    Rob, just watching some senior bowl coverage. Philip Blake (OL Baylor) looks really good in the 1 on 1′s, do you know what round he is projected in? Also I think Ingram is dominating and I am even more hopeful that he is an option for the hawks.

  22. Jeff says:

    Hey Rob- love the blog. Who do you like as far as tight ends in the draft? Any jimmy graham potential steals?

  23. Rob says:

    williambryan – I’ve not scouted Blake other than when watching RGIII, but he’s generally received late round/UDFA grades. I’m still not convinced with Ingram. Again, I think he’s probably the defensive player I’ve enjoyed watching the most in 2011, but he measured in with short arms, he’s stout and lacks length. I’m still not convinced how he fits into Seattle’s scheme. I know a lot of people like him.

    Jeff – Michael Egnew is my favorite out of Missouri. Big, able to get downfield and while he’s not quite Jimmy Graham for athleticism, he’s that same type of player.

  24. Kip Earlywine says:

    Nice caption. :)

  25. Rob says:

    It’s the old Michigan State ‘super glue on the football’ ruse….

  26. David says:

    I am sorry Rob, but i have to ask, what is Bockers Cieling? is it pretty high? because i was thinking Brockers in the 1st and hopefully Cousins in the 2nd or 3rd.

  27. Kip Earlywine says:

    I’ve felt for a long time that Cousins would interest Pete Carroll. He’s a “winner” who plays it safe, but isn’t limited the same way that Andy Dalton was last year. There is nothing wrong (IMO) with being sub-elite across the board, either. Hasselbeck, even in his glorious prime, would probably fit the same description. Speaking of which, it would not surprise me if Mike Holmgren also liked Cousins quite a bit. Could be something to watch if Cleveland passes on RG3.

    The only thing I don’t like about Cousins are how his long legs get in the way of solid footwork. His dropbacks are very choppy, and his mobility seems questionable. That’s pretty much it for me though. He seems like a very solid pick in round 2 or 3.

  28. Rob says:

    David – Brockers ceiling is very high but I’m still trying to work out his role in the NFL. Is he a 5-tech or a three-tech? Is he capable of taking the next step as a pass rusher with pro-coaching? Do you gamble on a lineman that early? I like him, but I’m not 100% sure he’s the three technique that would jolt this pass rush into life.

  29. Derek says:

    If Trent Richardson is available at #11 or #12, do you think we take him? I remember you saying that Cable was arguing for Ingram in last years draft, and with Cable’s success in the running game this year, do you think it gives Cable a little more weight at the table?

  30. Rob says:

    Darrell Bevell was the coach really high on Ingram. I think there’s next to no chance Richardson drops that far, Derek.

  31. David says:

    I think it was Bevell that wanted Ingram last year and Cable wanted to pick his lineman.

  32. Derek says:

    Ya sorry got that backwards. This will be a really interesting draft. Especially since we will have FA before the draft like usual, so more questions will be answered before draft day.

    I think we recognize the hawks priorities as getting speed on the defensive line and finding a touchdown maker. At #11 or #12 I don’t see much defensive speed in that range. If, like you said, we look at CBs, I remember PC referencing a CB’s press ability as one of the main things he looks at for corners, so do any of the top CB’s rate highly in that area?

    I also remember listening to PC post draft about his philosophy and wanting to add players that brought something different to the team. He gave the example of Kris Durham having height but also down field speed, unlike BMW.

    I am not to familiar with Dwight Jones and Mohamed Sanu, but I know you are high on them. Do you know how they differ in what we have already? What are your thoughts on Boise State RB Doug Martin? I have seen his stock rising the last couple of days.

    I think we take advantage of the offensive talent in round 1, either at #11/#12 or move back to pick up an extra 4th or 5th, and target a speedy WILL backer in rounds 2 or 3. I would also be all for a move up to get RGIII. Maybe that’s the touchdown maker PC is referencing??

  33. Derek says:

    Also can you update us on your thoughts of Austin Davis after the Shrine game? Do you think he still an option for the Hawks?

  34. Don says:

    I think with Cousins being in the Senior Bowl and getting more media exposure, combined with the need by many teams for a QB, he will get drafted far ahead of what he is projected. Just like in years past, 2 rd graded QB’s get picked in the 1st rd, 3-4 rd graded QB get picked in the 2nd.

    I like Cousins, and if the Seahwks like him, then they should pick him at #11. No messing around and taking the chance he will be there in RD 2. He wont.

    With Holmgren in Cleveland, needing an upgrade at QB, he is fully aware of Cousins in nearby Michigan. I wouldn’t be suprised that he is planning on taking him with their 2nd 1st rd pick or their 2 rd pick.

    There are several teams ahead of Seattle who will pass on Cousins in the 1st rd and will take him in the 2nd rd, so Seattle should just get their guy at #11.

  35. Sparticus158 says:

    For prospective tight ends, watch out for Kirk Cousin’s favorite TE target, Brian Linthicum. Kid can flat out play. Had a HUGE bowl game against Georgia.

  36. Tom says:

    As an MSU fan (completely objective though, I swear…) I find this assessment quite accurate. Without having double-checked my memory, I would add that the majority Cousins’ interceptions/bad decisions have come when everything was going wrong for the team, i.e. – down by 2 possessions on the road early in the game or when the offense is sputtering regardless of the score. In those situations, he tends to try and do too much on occasion. I think that he has shown tremendous improvement over his career in this arena though, as his sophomore year was quite the roller coaster.

    Also, if he has an effective running game, Cousins is infinitely better in every way. Obviously some improvement when you backs are rushing well is to be expected, but Cousins’ improvement seems to be pretty large. That having been said, he has had several good games while the RB’s couldn’t do jack, so it really just depends.

    I would also tack on, this past year he was dealing with a new OC who had maaaany struggles in the beginning of this past season. I find this to have affected him adversely in several situations (particularly the one-look plays where Captain Kirk was seemingly handcuffed to only one WR), including the fade at the 6:45 mark of the OSU highlight reel. Roushar (the OC) should NEVER have had Sims running a fade route. Roushar seemingly fell in love with the ‘bet you never saw that coming’ plays that would only work if the other team COMPLETELY balked the coverage, and would completely screw KC over if the only option was covered.

    Take it with a grain of salt though, despite my utterly flawless objectivity…

  37. Rob says:

    Derek – I’ve seen highlights of the Shrine Game and Davis looked pretty good. He remains an option for the Seahawks, but he’s always been a mid-late option.

  38. Ryan says:

    Would have loved to see him go through more progressions, but whatever. Love the Captain Kirk nickname, though.

    Rob, is this an accurate view of how you rank the QBs?

    Luck
    Griffin
    Osweiler
    Cousins
    Harnish
    Weeden
    Tannehill
    Davis
    ?

    If not, how would you rank them right now?

  39. andy says:

    Don’t think they will draft another TE or a CB. They will re-sign John Carlson to a modest contract and stick with the 4 TEs they had going into last season. At CB Browner and Sherman should remain our starters with Thurmond being the nickel. They have Maxwell and Lewis and Cox for depth. Perhaps they use a late rounder on one but not a area of need.

  40. Rob says:

    Ryan – I’d probably have Lindley just below Harnish but apart from that, it’s pretty accurate.

  41. Rugby Lock says:

    Tom – The root word of fan is fanatic… We can NEVER be completely objective :)

    Rob – Then I’d say that Osweiler or Cousins early (rd 1 or 2) and Austin Davis late would be a primo draft.

  42. Ross says:

    This is a great analysis, really thorough and thoughtful.

    As an MSU fan I can tell you that whomever drafts Cousins is getting one heck of a winner. There was one comment previous regarding a horrendous loss to Miss St. in 2010.

    To set the record straight it was a horrendous loss to Alabama, not Miss St. Big difference, many feel that Alabama was the best team in the country at the end of 2010. Without a doubt a horrendous loss though.

    Cousins also got the SEC monkey off our back by bring us back from a 0-16 halftime deficit to beat SEC east champs Georgia in our bowl game this year. Just saying…

  43. TommyComeSooner says:

    It’s a new and exciting ice cream flavor of the month at Baskin Robbins but in the long run won’t drive revenues. Kirk is a nice college QB but 1st round material? 2nd round material? C’mon fans, it’s new and exciting but still has bugs.

    After the Giants upset the Pats in the Superbowl, it will make it 8 straight years that the SB winning squad had a QB drafted in the current 1st round format. (Top 32 players for those questioning the inclusion of Drew Brees). 8 straight years!

    There is a reason over the past 10 drafts that QB’s selected after round 1, maybe less Matt Schaub, who took his game elsewhere, haven’t done squat in the NFL. They tease you in college with some good film, show a decent arm, seem athletic and once they hit the NFL, nothing happens. I posted the extensive list a couple of weeks ago.

    We’ve wasted 3rd round draft selections on “winners” or has everyone forgot the QB selection of David Greene from Georgia?

    There is a reason Buffalo has been also rans since Jim Kelly left, a reason the Steelers were inconsequential for 20 years after Bradshaw retired, the 49ers 10+ years of nothing w/out a Steve Young or Montana, the Broncos have been dogs since Elway, even the Ravens should’ve won more SB’s with their year in and year out highly ranked defense, the Cowboys w/out an Aikman. It’s time to move up the draft for RG3 or Luck.

    In today’s NFL, these mid-round and don’t kid yourself, Cousins isn’t a 1st round talent, don’t measure up to the NFL speed. Toss in that Kirk clunker tape vs Nebraska and his 11-27 for 86 yds and evaluate. Was that 27 for 50 with 1 td and 3 int’s really that impressive vs Georgia? The guy is inconsistent and not much different than what we have in TJack.

    Why do our fans get excited to settle for a QB that will never take us to the promiseland and hope and pray that Pete and John sprinkle pixie dust on these perennial backups in an attempt to turn them into something?

    Kirk Cousins will be just a waste of a draft selection that can be used for a pass rusher and defensive presence like a Vinny Curry in round 2 or a LB in round 3.

    Every QB option is worth discussing but to desire Cousins is totally settling for mediocrity and would be further wasting time in an attempt to hoist a Lombardi in the next 5 years.

    Pete and John will be making a big mistake if they count on one of these guys in year 3 and crossroads of their contract as potential franchise leader and savior. Don’t do it, Pete. You’ll regret it!

  44. Doug says:

    I see a late round flyer on the guy. I totally dig his “cool”, I wish a lot of the kids out there today had his moxie. I think he has a nice arm, but I don’t know how well he could adapt to the “bigs”.

    I really think Coples will be our first pick… Unless we are able to trade up somehow…

  45. Rob says:

    I just can’t see Coples, Doug. Aside from being a poor scheme player without an obvious role in this defense, he flies in the face of what this team has drafted so far – high intensity players that will buy in. Coples’ effort is just so ‘meh’.

  46. TommyComeSooner – I’m all for first-round quarterbacks, but I do have three quick defenses to picking a little lower.

    One is that this front office has proven they can scout and get the most out of players. That alone makes me feel safer with second-round picks.

    Two is that there is evidence that we’re entering a phase of the league’s evolution where slightly subpar QB’s can succeed if properly schemed and equipped. That’s SLIGHTLY subpar, not Tarvaris subpar. Andy Dalton is a possible example. Alex Smith is another.

    Three is that the are second-round picks, and then there are second-round picks. Last year it was Colin Kaepernick’s rawhood, Andy Dalton’s limitations, and Ryan Mallett’s scheme issues and immobility that dropped them. This year, the likely falls seem to be a result of a wide variety of correctable flaws attending a battery of QB’s with decent decision-making

  47. …and a general air of “jack of all trades though master of none”. Pete Carroll wants ball security and the temperament to play for another down, and it’s interesting how many 2012 quarterbacks Rob has identified those traits in. The only true bomb I see is Ryan Tannehill. The rest are largely second- or third-round picks just because they don’t jump off the screen, rather than being a deceiving combination of late-round talent with first-round production/tools like a Kaepernick, Tannehill, or even Tebow.

  48. genax says:

    Hey Rob

    It seems that there are too many question mark defensive players available at our position for the draft. I dont see one defensive player that fits out current scheme. It seems more like thi “a player” can/maybe fit here or here or a player that’s not considerably better than the players who are on the active roster or backup position. This leads me to believe we might go offense in the 1st round and possibly a qb, impact wr or even a rb or even another oline.

    Does this make any sense to you?

  49. Rob says:

    It makes sense to me genax – but I get the impression they are committed to spending a first round on the front seven. Rightly or wrongly I think this team is using the draft to improve specific areas. Last year, they zoned in on the offensive line and made picks people didn’t really ‘get’ at the time, but it fit how they want to build in the draft. I think they could very easily identify one or two defensive players this year that are considered reaches, but fit what they want to do. I’m prepared for that scenario.

  50. Jarhead says:

    Honestly Cousins is just another QB to me. Just another face in the crowd with some decent tools who never pans out. And there are many every year. I say NO to this man. Honestly, I never bought in to Hasselbeck either. No ‘Eye of the Tiger’, just kind of mushy. I would not be pleased at all if they chose Cousins as the next Hawks QB. He would just be another jersey who would result in nothing.

  51. Tezlin says:

    I might be a bit crazy, but Cousins left me a bit more impressed than Osweiler. But what do I know… I just want a new QB so I can watch less erratic QB play at some point. Tjack is just all over the board, gimme something new to complain and cheer about!

  52. Graham says:

    I’m another Michigan State fan and I’m going to get that out of the way now. Now although I may be biased towards KC, I think he would be a great fit at QB for you guys. I am glad that he is finally getting some recognition for his leadership and passing skills. He can really thread the needle, making those perfect passes. And while he may not be an ‘elite’ QB, he is solid throughout and he is a student of the game. Also Rob, I don’t know how much you’ve been looking at wide receivers, but what do you think about BJ Cunningham? He definitely works well with cousins and is a solid, NFL talented receiver.

  53. Rob says:

    Hey Graham thanks for visiting,

    I like Cunningham, he has a shot. He was a little inconsistent from what I saw – some huge plays that jump off screen, but also some frustrating drops. But the talent is there. This is a really deep class for receivers this year.

  54. Matt says:

    Rob,

    Being a Michigan State fan, I have seen Cousins improve over the years. When Okahoma quarterback Keith Nichol transferred To MSU, KC used that as motivation and will do anything to start in the NFL. I also believe he can throw his emotions into the game, like against Iowa in the 2010 season. I think if Seattle waits till third round for him, their out of luck. I could see Cleveland, Atlanta and Greenbay looking for a backup. (If he doesn’t do well in the NFL he would be a good actor, he play fake against IU shows it all.)

  55. Matt says:

    Also what do you think of Keshawn Martin for 6-7th round, he’d be a good reciever, 3rd and long running back and return man.

  56. Rob says:

    I’m a big Keshawn Martin fan – I’d probably take him earlier than that.