By Adam Biggers
If former Michigan State Spartans star quarterback Kirk Cousins is drafted, he'll likely be taken Friday, April 27, or Saturday, April 28. Those are the two days when the second through seventh-rounders are picked.
While it's unclear when and where he'll go, one report of interest has surfaced. According to Buffalo Rumblings (which cited Fox Sports), a Buffalo Bills blog, Cousins scheduled a visit last week with the team.
The Bills have Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter, followed by Tyler Thigpen and Brad Smith (depth chart). But Cousins could potentially squeeze in the rotation and challenge Thigpen for the back-up job. The former Spartans great has the intangibles that NFL scouts and analysts have fallen in love with. He's intelligent, a great leader, and has an adequate understanding of the game.
Thigpen didn't see many snaps in 2011, completing three of eight attempts for a total of 25 yards during two lopsided losses. However, in 2008, his second year in the NFL, Thigpen showed a little promise by throwing for over 2,600 yards. He's since bottomed out, and the Bills haven't shown much confidence in him.
The Bills' perceived lack of confidence in Thigpen could create an opening for Cousins, should he be drafted by Buffalo. Or, at the very least, force Thigpen to up his game.
But Cousins can complete the mid-range throws. He can also make plays on his feet, often demonstrating the ability to hit receivers on the go or gain yards on broken plays. Cousins is thought of a pro-style quarterback for good reason. But he's not a stand-still like other typical pro-style quarterbacks. One that comes to mind is former Colts All-Pro Peyton Manning, who didn't need to be mobile because of his excellent arm.
Cousins' mixture of skills will bring a variety of options to his next offensive coordinator, whomever he may be.
It's all but certain that an NFL team will go after Cousins. He was a three-year captain who left Michigan State as its career-leader in wins (and just about every other quarterback-related record) and beat in-state rival Michigan three times as a starter. He knows how to be efficient under pressure and keep a cool head while doing so.
The only real concern is his arm strength. But that could be improved with the proper guidance and training. Buffalo would be a good destination, even if just as a starting point, for Cousins. The Bills were in the top half of the NFL in total passing yards with 3,703 (15th). So, in theory, Cousins could get his feet wet early if called upon.