Eckel: Philadelphia Eagles' Foles, Washington Redskins' Cousins keep crossing paths
Published: Sunday, December 23, 2012, 3:00 AM Updated: Sunday, December 23, 2012, 3:02 AM
By Mark Eckel/The Times
Near the end of the second day of last April’s draft was the right time for the Eagles to look for a young quarterback.
It was the third round, and a few prospects were still available as the Eagles awaited their 88th overall pick.
Seattle selected Russell Wilson of Wisconsin — a player who piqued the Eagles’ interest — a few picks earlier. Still, the team was determined to get a player they hoped could serve as Mike Vick’s backup for a year and take over in the not so distant future.
According to people with knowledge of what happened that day in the Eagles draft room, as the pick grew nearer it was going to be Kirk Cousins of Michigan State or Nick Foles of the University of Arizona.
In an informal survey of 10 different personnel people around the league, six had Cousins rated above Foles, and four had Foles rated ahead of Cousins. None of the 10 had a wide gap between the two.
“I think they’re both back-up types who might develop in the proper system,” one said. “I think Cousins might be better right away. Foles might have more upside.”
Another said Cousins is exactly what you have seen the past two weeks.
“He’s the kind of guy who can go in and win a game for you, just like he did (coming off the bench to beat Baltimore and then beating Cleveland),” he said. “I’m not sure about him over a 16-game season. Foles, to me, is more of a project.”
Most of the Eagles’ college scouts, along with general manager Howie Roseman, leaned toward Cousins, the 6-foot-3, 214-pound former Spartan, according to the man in the know. For that matter, a few scouts actually thought the team was picking Cousins and were stunned when the decision was made to take Foles.
Head coach Andy Reid wanted Foles, the big 6-6, 243-pounder, and since Reid gets final say on all personnel decisions, the card went to the front with the Arizona quarterback’s name on it.
Cousins would go 14 picks, and a day, later to the Washington Redskins early in the fourth round.
It’s not the first time Reid has been on an island during the draft. Some have worked out in his favor, and some turned into taking Freddie Mitchell over Reggie Wayne in the first round of the 2001 draft.
In any event, it will be interesting to see how it turns out; especially since it’s highly doubtful Reid will have any influence on Foles’ future.
Today when the Eagles host the Redskins in a crucial game for Washington’s playoff hopes, Cousins will likely be the No. 2 quarterback behind starter Robert Griffin III, who is due back in the lineup after missing the end of the Baltimore game and the Cleveland game with a sprained LCL.
Foles will be making his sixth start for the Eagles and second against the Redskins in place of a now healthy Vick, who went out with a concussion six weeks ago.
This isn’t the first time Cousins and Foles paths have intertwined. Both were freshmen at Michigan State in 2007. Cousins was a red shirt, who ran the scout team, and Foles was third on the depth chart behind starter Brian Hoyer.
After that season, Foles transferred to Arizona and Cousins, after being Hoyer’s backup, eventually won the Spartans starting job.
One of the reasons given for Foles’ leaving was the native Texan didn’t like the Midwest and wanted to head back to the more familiar Southwest.
Originally out of high school, he had planned to go to Arizona State, but when the Sun Devils fired head coach Dirk Koetter, he changed his mind and went to Michigan State. Remember that little bit of info for the future.
In any event, Cousins went 22-5 in his final two years with the Spartans, won a Big Ten title and went to the Big Ten title game the following year.
Foles didn’t have the same winning success with the Wildcats, but did lead the Pac-12 in passing his senior year.
Now, they are both in the NFC East.
“I like Nick,” Cousins told the Washington media. “He’s got a great personality. He’s a selfless teammate. I never had a problem with him. I thought he was a good, genuine teammate.”
ECK’S TOP 5
1. ATLANTA (12-2)
2. HOUSTON (12-2)
3. DENVER (11-3)
4. SAN FRANCISCO (10-3-1)
5. NEW ENGLAND (10-4)
ECK’S BOTTOM 5
28. DETROIT (4-10)
29. EAGLES (4-10)
30. OAKLAND (4-10)
31. KANSAS CITY (2-12)
32. JACKSONVILLE (2-12)
BEST BET (8-7)
Giants -2½ over Baltimore
UPSET SPECIAL (7-7-1)
New Orleans +3 over Dallas
THE REST (88-69-4)
Green Bay -12 over Tennessee
Carolina -8 over Oakland
Miami -4 over Buffalo
Pittsburgh -3½ over Cincinnati
New England -14½ over Jacksonville
Indianapolis -7 over Kansas City
Washington -6½ over Eagles
Tampa Bay -3 over St. Louis
Jets -2½ over San Diego
Minnesota +7½ over Houston
Cleveland +13 over Denver
Chicago -5½ over Arizona
San Francisco -1 over Seattle
Contact Mark Eckel at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:36 AM