This wasn’t Cousins’ finest individual performance, but he also played his part in a big win for Michigan State. There were several sloppy errors in this tape - he can’t afford to try to fake the throw over the middle by staring at the secondary and then coming back to throw blind to the right. It led to a big turnover in this game and he gave Georgia enough bites of the apple to win this one comfortably. Fortunately, the Bulldogs were equally generous.
However, there were also some key highlights – none more so than a superb two-minute drill to tie the game at 27-27 and take it to overtime. Poise, accuracy, the ability to make a play with his legs when offered the opportunity. That was an excellent drive late on to give his team a shot at victory.
The Seahawks may or may not have the opportunity to draft Cousins, depending on the grade they’ve given him and the area he leaves the board. The early second round may be considered too early, but he could easily be off the board before round three. In my mock draft yesterday, I had Cousins going in the late second round to Green Bay. Seattle will have to weigh up the direction they want to go in round two, but they could well decide to keep adding to the front seven and they may want to spend a high pick on a running back. They aren’t likely to force the issue at quarterback and overdraft someone – even in round two – when there are players higher on their board available.
Even so, Pete Carroll seems to like Cousins and he matches what the Seahawks are looking for in terms of a ‘leader’ at quarterback. His stock has risen during the Senior Bowl and while previously he may have been considered a probably round 3/4 pick, that now seems unlikely. I have Cousins graded as the #4 quarterback behind only Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Brock Osweiler. You’ll find the tape above vs Georgia in the Outback Bowl (provided to us by JMPasq) and the review below.
0:06- I’m torn between whether this is just a bad read and play call, or an exceptional play from Brandon Boykin. Credit goes to the corner, he spots this immediately.
0:28 – Great read from Cousins here, spotting the receiver dropping in behind the corner and noticing he’d be passed off to the safety. He leads the wide out nicely and this is just a really good play from the quarterback.
0:42 – Nice completion, off balance thrown to the sideline under pressure. Exciting for two reasons – one, what a fantastic rush by Jarvis Jones who would’ve been a top-ten pick this year. Two – for Cousins to generate that kind of velocity leaning back and with a hit forthcoming is impressive.
1:01 – Jarvis Jones. Again.
1:49 – Not sure what happens on this play. Good play action, good pass protection and the pass (thrown slightly behind, which is what needed to happen in that thick coverage) just seems to go through the receivers hands.
1:55- Dangerous throw down the middle, Cousins needs to avoid lofting passes too much in 2v1 situations. In that read, better to drive the ball and risk the incompletion than risk the interception by taking something off the pass. He tries to throw off the safety by looking to the right, but he can’t trust the fake. Bacarri Rambo doesn’t bite and jumps the pass – it could’ve easily been a pick.
2:24- Doesn’t notice the linebacker ready to jump the dig. Needs to be careful and identify the danger here, this should’ve been an interception.
2:40 – He’s starting to press with the score at 16-0 to Georgia and MSU struggling with five straight 3-and-outs. However bad things are going, it’s never worth risking a pick here and making it worse. Bad read, bad decision to throw into triple coverage. Must do better.
3:27 – It’s a sloppy route from the intended target, but also a bit of a wild throw from Cousins that almost led to an interception.
4:06 – Superb fake on the bubble screen, completely sells it opening up the tight end down the seam. Much better, intelligent quarterback play.
4:41 – Cousins threads the needle down the middle, dissecting three defenders to find the tight end. Nice, accurate throw with the correct level of touch.
5:02- Inaccurate pass, throws too high. Could’ve been costly.
5:58 – First interception, but it had been on the cards. Ill-advised throw to the sideline, not enough punch on the pass and easily cut off and returned. The big problem here is Cousins looks down the middle of the field on the fake, then throws blind to the right sideline. Being deceptive is one thing, but throwing bad picks that are avoidable is another. This was avoidable and if he makes the read before throwing, he avoids a pick.
7:23 – Better. Cousins anticipates the route and just allows that extra split second to let it develop – then throws a strike into the end zone. Ball placement was perfect, allowing the tight end to go up and make the play.
8:09- Play action before a bad read. If you freeze it at 8:11, what do you see? A wall of three red-shirts blocking off the inside route. Cousins forces it anyway, with the ball being tipped by one defender and caught by another. Alec Ogletree is a very good prospect at Georgia but this was all on the quarterback. He cannot make that throw.
8:33 – 10:02 – I wanted to highlight the entire drive which tied the game and took it to overtime. This is just an excellent two-minute drill, Cousins marching the team down the field with a combination of accuracy throwing the ball, good decision making and when given the chance to make a play with his legs – he took it. A clutch drive that deserves to be highlighted in it’s entirety.
10:15 – Jarvis Jones. Did we ever mention he’s pretty good?
10:23 – Another bad decision here and another pick. He’s throwing into a zone with two defensive backs and one receiver, and hoping for the best. That’s not a good read or decision and he was fortunate to get another opportunity to win this game.