Even NFL people who believe Griffin could become a thrilling once-in-a-decade performer still have concerns about his durability over a 17-week season.
I spoke with two longtime assistant coaches recently; they had no issues with Shanahan selecting Cousins. Apparently, some teams had Cousins graded as high as a second-round pick. “I thought it was a steal for us at that position,” Shanahan said.
But the move, the coaches said, is risky for a team such as the Redskins, which seem to have so many areas of need after winning 11 games the past two seasons combined. The Redskins need to improve significantly along the offensive line, at safety and cornerback.
In the NFL, fourth-rounders are expected to contribute. Shanahan knows this. While leading the Denver Broncos, he selected eventual Pro Bowlers Brandon Marshall and Elvis Dumervil seven picks apart in the fourth round in 2006.
If Griffin remains healthy and produces, Cousins won’t play for the Redskins. That’s a costly insurance premium when the Redskins could have selected a player who might help them immediately.
Shanahan, though, is paid $7 million per season to build the roster as he sees fit. In picking two quarterbacks so high, Shanahan provided a not-so-subtle reminder that this is still very much his show.
During a private meeting in his office after last season, Shanahan told me he believed injuries were the primary reason the Redskins disappointed. I got the sense he didn’t care if I believed him. He was convinced.
Perhaps he’s as confident — if not more so — in Washington’s roster now. After picking two quarterbacks with Washington’s first three picks, Shanahan had better like what he sees.
For Jason Reid’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/reid