Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 27, 32 days before the NFL Draft.
—The Redskins last played a game 77 days ago. It will be about 168 days until they play another one.
—Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 22; 2016 NFL draft 32; Redskins training camp starts 123
On Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings Jay Gruden talked about the pressure that Kirk Cousins is under now that he’s the starting quarterback playing under the franchise tag. “Now all of a sudden when as you’re trying to establish yourself as one of the top five guys in the NFL, now you have a little bit more pressure on yourself to perform and he knows that,” said Gruden.
The “top 5” part drew some attention. That seems to be a rather ambitious goal for a player who was a fourth-round pick and who a year ago was supposed to play out the final year of his rookie contract and then enter an uncertain future as an NFL journeyman. But things change quickly. With Cousins now getting paid nearly $20 million this year under the franchise tag expectations, as outlined by Gruden, have grown exponentially.
Can Cousins be a top five quarterback? He was fifth in passer rating last year and sixth in DVOA but such designations go beyond one-season numbers. When you talk about getting it done year after year and experiencing success in the playoffs, the top guys are Brady, Brees, and Rodgers followed by Wilson, Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning. Then there are others, such as Rivers, Newton, Palmer, and Ryan, who have put up a multiple very good statistical seasons but have had limited playoff success.
So that fills out the top 10 and we haven’t even talked about some other pretty good ones like Dalton and Flacco and other young payers who will be trying to move into the top five like Winston, Carr, and Mariota.
Right now, when you’re talking about career achievement, you have to put Cousins somewhere between 10 and 15, maybe a touch lower depending on how you want to rank quarterbacks like Cutler and Alex Smith. He has a very tall mountain to climb to even move into the top 10. Unless Scot McCloughan can get a Super Bowl caliber roster together and keep the group together for a few years, the top five may be an unreachable star for Cousins.
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