ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The Washington Redskins were serenading the arrival of Robert Griffin III at a draft-day party at FedEx Field when they surprised the football world by drafting another quarterback.
However, coach Mike Shanahan quickly deflected talk of a possible quarterback controversy, saying Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins was taken in the fourth round on Saturday as a long-term insurance policy.
“Any time you get a quarterback like Robert in the second pick of a draft . he’s your franchise quarterback,” Shanahan said. “He’s going to be your quarterback for the next decade. (Kirk) knows he’s going to be a backup . but there (are) injuries. I thought it was a steal for us.”
Nonetheless Cousins, who won 27 games as a three-year starter at Michigan State, was a little surprised to be picked by Washington.
‘’I was trying to forecast which teams would be looking at a quarterback and I didn’t see the Redskins thinking along those lines,” Cousins said.
Washington was the first team to select two quarterbacks during the first four rounds since Green Bay in 1989. The last time the Redskins chose a quarterback in the top 10 before Griffin was in 1994 when they took Heath Shuler. He was eventually beaten out by Gus Frerotte, whom the Redskins chose in the seventh round that year.
As for RGIII, he knows much is expected of him.
The Redskins have started 21 quarterbacks over the last 19 seasons while making the playoffs just three times. But he seems more than comfortable with the expectations.
“I’ve definitely seen the struggles the team has gone through, especially when it comes to quarterbacks,” Griffin said. “They drafted me to try to be the solution to that problem and I plan on being that solution.”
Before the third day of the draft was done, the Redskins cut John Beck, who nearly beat out Rex Grossman to be the opening day starter in 2011 but performed poorly in his three starts.
With its second pick in Saturday’s fourth round, Washington took Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson with a selection obtained in a trade with Pittsburgh. The Redskins are set for starters but three-time Pro Bowl pick London Fletcher turns 37 in May and Lorenzo Alexander is the only experienced backup.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Robinson, the first Texas player chosen in the draft, was a three-year starter in the Longhorns’ 3-4 defense. He had 176 tackles, 24 for losses. As a freshman, the Plano, Texas, product was part of an outstanding defense that was led by his friend Brian Orakpo, then an All-American defensive end.
Orakpo “said he loves D.C. and I’m sure that I’m going to love it, too,” Robinson said.
The Redskins, who had drafted SMU guard Josh LeRibeus during Friday’s third round, continued doubling up on positions by choosing Iowa guard Adam Gettis in the fifth round.
Unlike the bulkier LeRibeus, the 6-foot-2, 293-pound Gettis played in a zone-blocking system in college similar to the one that the Redskins employ. Both rookies are expected to back up center Will Montgomery and guards Kory Lichtensteiger — who missed the final 11 games of last season with a knee injury — and Chris Chester.
Washington surprisingly didn’t choose a receiver or tight end but did add running back Alfred Morris out of Florida Atlantic in the sixth round. Shanahan said he likes the 5-10, 219-pound Morris’ running style and “ability to make people miss.”
However with then-rookies Roy Helu and Evan Royster having combined to produce five 100-yard games during the final six contests of 2011 and with veteran Tim Hightower expected to re-sign, Morris doesn’t figure to play much.
The Redskins chose a third offensive lineman with their second sixth-round selection. South Dakota’s 6-5, 314-pound Tom Compton will compete with holdovers Tyler Polumbus and Willie Smith to be the backups to left tackle Trent Williams and right tackle Jammal Brown.
After devoting six of its first seven picks to offense, Washington took SMU cornerback Richard Crawford and Iowa strong safety Jordan Bernstine with its seventh-round selections. Bernstine was a cornerback until his senior season.