Aug 19, 2012

Tracking Spartans from the 2012 NFL Draft

Kirk Cousins and Offensive Linemen Tom Compton celebrate after a touchdown
Photo Courtesy of
By Blain Bradley

As the NFL preseason winds down, teams are making cuts and rookies are continuing to battle it out for a coveted spot on the 53 man roster for game day. The Spartans 2012 draft class was their biggest since 2000. The picks are listed in order: Jerel Worthy DT (2nd Round Green Bay Packers), Kirk Cousins QB (4th Round Washington Redskins), Keshawn Martin WR (4th Round Houston Texans), BJ Cunningham WR (6th Round Miami Dolphins), Trenton Robinson FS (6th Round San Francisco 49ers) and Edwin Baker RB (7th Round San Diego Chargers). 

Worthy has made an impact at Packers training camp. Rookie defensive lineman Mike Daniels was quoted saying that Worthy "loves the game of football" and "loves to bring energy." Last season Worthy earned consensus first team All-American honors from the Associated Press. Worthy brings tremendous size and power to the Packers. Worthy has gained praise from coaches and fellow players for being vocal and passionate. Look for him to pair up well with B.J. Raji on the Packers d-line. He has been lining up next to Raji in nickel packages. Worthy eats up blockers, allowing Raji and blitzing linebackers to get an inside rush. Worthy should make an impact right away. 

Former Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins has impressed analysts, teammates, and coaches alike. Many were shocked when the Redskins drafted Cousins after selecting Heisman winning quarterback Robert Griffin III. What football outsiders don't understand is that in today's league sometimes it is better to have a traditional pocket passer rather than a dual threat quarterback. Robert Griffin brings a running game, however NFL defenses are far too athletic and smart to allow Griffin to run wild on them. If he somehow flops, Cousins can step in and be the signal caller for Washington. 

Cousins brings experience to the Redskins. He was a three year starter at MSU, who as a sophomore earned captain honors. He had a stellar season last year leading the Spartans to an Outback Bowl win. Cousins threw for 3,316 yards, 25 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions as a senior. He has incredible football knowledge and is a pure leader. 

Cousins amazed fans during his second half performance against the Bears this preseason. Cousins threw the ball 23 times, in which he completed 18 of those passes for 264 yards. He had three passing touchdowns. Redskins receiver Terrence Austin praised Cousins. Austin had this to say about the rookie quarterback:
“The other day, one of the guys mentioned to me how he’s like a computer, and I guess you can kind of see that. What I like about him is he’ll ask you questions about what you’re thinking on your route so he can kind of connect it. He has a strong arm, he’s mobile and he’s real smart. I’m impressed with him so far.”
Hopefully Cousins can continue his on field success. The Redskins have two preseason games left in which they'll face the Colts and Buccaneers. 

Former Spartan wide receiver Keshawn Martin is emerging as the starting slot receiver for the Houston Texans. Martin impressed coaches so much that he started in his first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. Martin replaced injured star Andre Johnson. The Texans love how versatile Martin is. He even had a rushing attempt in which he ran for 12 yards on an end-around play. Martin also has the ability to return kicks and punts. He is a special player who was a fourth round steal by the Texans.

Little has been said about former wideout B.J. Cunningham. He has struggled to find a spot in the Dolphins receiver rotation. It's odd because the Dolphins are lacking at the wide receiver spot. Cunningham should really capitalize on this and try to earn a key role. According to the Miami Herald chances of Cunningham making the final roster are slim. It's a shame because Cunningham had a spectacular season last year. His teammates voted him the most valuable player amongst the Spartans. Cunningham hauled in 79 passes for 1,306 yards (he had 12 touchdown catches). Cunningham left MSU as the Spartans all time leader in receptions (218) and receiving yards (3,086). Hopefully he can breakout and put numbers up in the NFL.

Trenton Robinson has gotten mixed reviews from football insiders. He has steadily progressed, but coaches are ready to see him pick the pace up. The free safety has a fair shot at making the team and even seeing playing time. Robinson has seen lots of field time during the 49ers two preseason exhibitions. Robinson has also been a key member of the special teams unit for San Francisco.

Former Spartan running back Edwin Baker seems lost in San Diego. Last season LeVeon Bell out played Baker and it seemed that Baker had hit his peak. The case seems similar in San Diego. Baker has been over shadowed by the play of undrafted rookie running back Michael Hayes. Both are trying to survive and find a spot on the practice squad.

The Spartans put together a unique draft class that should be successful in given time. Keep your eyes peeled for big play from Cousins, Worthy, and Martin this season. 

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