Everyone was confused why the Washington Redskins selected Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Turns out everyone does indeed include Kirk Cousins.
The Redskins quarterback, who has seemingly been bequeathed the role of overseas ambassador for the NFL, revisited his draft-day experience in a Monday interview with Sky Sports at Wembley Stadium in London. Washington will face the Cincinnati Bengals on those hallowed grounds in October.
The selection of Cousins was puzzling at the time, albeit less so now. The Michigan State product found it “shocking.”
“It was a dream come true,” Cousins said. “It was also unexpected because the team that picked me—the Redskins—I really didn’t think I would go there. There’s 32 teams in the NFL and I would’ve thought that the Redskins were the 32nd most likely to pick me.”
We all know what made the Cousins pick controversial. That large haul of future selections that the Redskins sent to St. Louis in order to move up and select Robert Griffin III three rounds earlier.
“Having drafted Robert with the second overall pick in the entire draft at my same position, it just didn’t make sense for them to draft me,” Cousins said. “And yet, there I was in the fourth round getting called by coach [Mike] Shanahan and the Redskins.”
In hindsight, with Griffin gone and Cousins now the franchise quarterback of the future, the pick seems reasonable if not prudent. But, even up until recently, speculation that it spawned tension between Griffin, Cousins and the organization swirled. In the interview, Cousins sidestepped the suggestion that the front office’s draft-day decision made things awkward between him and Griffin.
“It worked out, you know, we worked well together,” Cousins said. “Both of us learned things and we grew along the way. It was quite a journey for four years.”
Whether it really worked out for both parties is up for debate, but Cousins said he was happy to learn Cleveland Browns extended his former teammate a two-year offer on March 24.
“I was happy for [Griffin] that he seemed to have found a good landing spot, a place to continue to play and have an opportunity to help a team much like he did with the Redskins,” Cousins said. “Time will tell how everything plays out but it’s great to see him land with a good team and have a chance to play and contribute.”
Cousins remarks on the tired topic seemed genuine, but he was much more at home talking about the current state of the Redskins.
“There’s a lot of reason to be excited if you’re a Redskins fan,” Cousins said. “We feel like we’ve got some players who are on the way up, and now we’ve got to put it together two years in a row.”
He was also plenty comfortable operating in his unofficial role of NFL diplomacy, which, by the sound of it, seems to be growing more and more official.
“We’ll just continue the process of moving forward, exploring the fan bases in other parts of the world,” Cousins said. “I’m sure it will lead, someday, to a fan base and a team in another city.”
Cousins went on to say that people thought the initial idea of playing a game overseas was impossible, but now the NFL is playing three games overseas each season. He stated that, in time, an NFL franchise in London is “a very realistic possibility” before extending one last, cheesy olive branch.
“I enjoyed my tea and biscuits,” said Cousins, to mutual chuckling. “I’ll have to start doing that more often.”
Dan Roth is a freelance sportswriter and Breaking Burgundy contributor. Follow Dan on Twitter @DanRothDC.
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