NFL Draft Wrap| View Comments
Six Spartans were taken in the NFL draft over the weekend, the most since 2000, further evidence of what Mark Dantonio has done in East Lansing.
While the 6 draftees were mostly expected, their were a couple of surprises. Namely, the selection of Jerel Worthy (no. 51) and Kirk Cousins (no. 102).
Before the draft, many had predicted that Worthy was a borderline first round selection. But when his name wasn't called on Thursday, those same experts figured that he would be selected almost immediately on Friday.
But that wasn't the case either. And natually, the longer he had to wait, the more nerve-wracking it became.
Finally, the wait ended with the Green Bay Packers trading up to select the former Spartan star.
"The wait yesterday was a little frustrating, but at the same time, it humbled me and allowed me to really take in why I'm playing this game," said Worthy. "I have that fire, that chip on my shoulder. I'll roll with it, and I'm ready to make an impact right away.
"I was just trying to be patient - I knew my time would come. Green Bay saw my potential and that I could make some plays. I'm just ready to get after it and prove to people I'm a great player."
Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins, who many had pegged as a 2nd round selection and the fourth or fifth best QB in the draft, waited around much longer. And when his name was called early in the fourth round on Saturday, the team which selected him became an even bigger surprise.
“I was shocked,” Cousins said on Saturday. “I hadn’t talked to them in the process at great length and didn’t know they were interested, but when I saw a Virginia number on my cell phone, I knew it was a possibility. When I answered, Coach Shanahan told me, `I can’t pass you up and have to pick you.
“It’s a unique situation with Washington picking Robert No. 2 overall and I didn’t expect it, but Coach Shanahan knows quarterbacks. He worked with Steve Young and John Elway, and I think he held getting me in the fourth round was a steal. I think Robert is in their immediate plans and the long-term hope for their fan base, but they wouldn’t have selected me unless they believed in me. Now it’s up to me to learn the playbook and support Robert, and when I get my opportunity to play, Robert will support me.”
As we all know, Kirk is the model citizen and will work admirably to do what he can to get on the field. After all, as I wrote on Friday, this isn't the first time that Kirk has had to overcome the odds. Still, it's not an ideal situation to be behind not only Washington's future, but also a veteran in Rex Grossman, who most likely will be Griffin's backup.
After soaking in the whole situation from the weekend, Cousins went on the Dan Patrick show to talk more about the scenario.
"I think it's very important that Robert, myself, the Redskins as a whole, that we handle this thing the right way," Cousins said. "And I was involved in a couple of quarterback competitions in college, so this isn't my first time being around a situation like this.
"But I think the important thing to note is that we're not competing against one another. We're competing with one another. And we're competing with one another to help the Redskins win football games..."
He was also asked if he had mixed feelings about the situation. Again, he answered in true Kirk Cousins fashion.
"Well I think the NFL is such an unstable future for all player involved," Cousins went on. "Things change, people move around, people get injured, and so, it's hard to forecast anything right now or say 'well this is what's gonna happen, so I'm disinterested'.
"I think that I'm going to keep an open mind and understand that I have a chance to develop, I have a chance to work under coach Shanahan, who's been around the likes of Steve Young, Joe Montana, John Elway, and that's going to be a great opportunity for me to learn and grow."
Dan Patrick went on to say that he thought, Philadelphia made a good pick with Nick Foles.
"They took Foles, who I like. I think he's got a chance because Andy Reid has a way of developing these quarterbacks. And with Michael Vick, with his style, I thought that was interesting there."
I wonder if Patrick even knows that Foles transferred out of Michigan State.
THE OTHER SPARTAN PICKS
(Quotes provided by MSU Athletic Comm.)
Keshawn Martin (Houston Texans, 26th pick in 4th Rd.)
"It will be great playing alongside and learning from a guy of Andre Johnson's caliber," Martin said. "Hopefully, I'll get my chance to be that type of player one day. I just look forward to getting to work and learning the system and playbook.
"I was surprised to be picked by Houston because I hadn't talked to them at all during the draft process. I'm just so happy that I'm lost for words right now."
Trenton Robinson (San Francisco 49ers, 10th pick in 6th Rd.)
Many had Trenton rated as the 3rd best safety in the NFL draft and a possible 3rd round selection. Ultimately, he was the 13th safety drafted overall.
"The 49ers recently showed a lot of interest," Robinson said. "We had an extended phone conversation a couple of days ago.
"San Francisco drafted me as a safety. The staff likes the way that I work and appreciates that fact that I'm a team player."
B.J. Cunningham (Miami Dolphins, 13th pick in 6th Rd.)
"I'm so excited that I can't wait to get to work," Cunningham said. "The first phone call I got all day came from Miami. I had limited contact with the Dolphins before the draft. In fact, Miami took Keshawn Martin and me out to eat the night before our pro day on campus last month.
"I had an opportunity to talk to (General Manager) Jeff Ireland, (head coach) Joe Philbin and (wide receivers coach) Ken O'Keefe, and they said that they really like my consistency and the fact that I get better each year throughout my career. They also like my physical play and my ability to go across the middle and make plays.
"I'm excited to have the opportunity to go in and compete for a spot in the playing rotation right away."
Edwin Baker (San Diego Chargers, 43rd pick in 7th Rd.)
"I definitely got a little nervous as the draft moved into the seventh round, but I still believed that someone would pick me," Baker said.
"San Diego thought that I had great vision and change of direction, and the coaches there believe I can be a great pro back. I had limited receptions (in college), but they believe that I catch the ball well enough when the ball is thrown my way.
"But I understand that I have to prove my versatility and that I can be an every down back. A day won't go by where I won't be out there catching extra balls before and after practice. I will show them that when the time comes, I will make the key catch. I'm just anxious to put the pads back on and to get to work."