Michigan State Senior
Shows decent arm strength and gets good zip on the short and intermediate throws. Flashes the ability to fit some of the tighter windows over the middle. Does a nice job on rollouts and bootlegs, squaring his shoulders and delivering the ball on the move. Shows ability to step up in the pocket, slide and avoid the rush, and occasionally can tuck it to make a play with his legs. Willing to stand in the pocket at times and take the hit with pressure in his face. Able to lead receivers over the middle and does a nice job throwing away from the defenders. Effective on the back-shoulder throws. Shows good anticipation at times, able to deliver the ball before his receivers come out of their breaks. Puts air under his deep pass, allowing his receiver to run under it. Does a good job consistently selling his ball fakes on the play-action, and knows how to use the pump fake to move the safety on the double move. Shows some ability to work from under center with decent footwork on his three-step drops. Comfortable going to his second progression at times and willing to throw it away when the play isn't there.
Doesn't really have ideal arm strength to drive the ball. His touch and accuracy on the vertical routes usually is dependent on putting a lot of air under the ball and allowing his guys to make the play. When he doesn't set his feet, which he does on occasion, it takes something off the ball and can lead to defenders closing and making a play on the ball. Generates much of his arm strength with his upper body as opposed to his mechanics and footwork. Will hold onto the ball a bit too long at times in the pocket and will take a few too many sacks. Not really a threat when he does decide to run with it. He'll float some passes over the middle, especially when there is pressure in his face, leading to some mental mistakes. Can struggle to reset his feet when stepping up in the pocket or rolling to his left. At times he'll bring his eye level down against the rush. Will miss sitting defenders at times and needs to do a better job looking off safeties as he'll stare down his first read. At times, seems to trust his receivers too much to go and make a play rather than making good decisions or accurate throws. Will throw into coverage too often. Lacks the pin-point accuracy and misses on too many throws, especially towards the sideline and down the field. Leads his receivers a bit too much at times over the middle and will be high on some of his vertical throws. Works primarily out of the shotgun and at times can struggle with the exchange from under center.
Cousin is a smart, capable passer that has a good head on his shoulders and the sort of maturity, intelligence, and intangibles that make him a good locker room guy. He is a good short and intermediate passer, that while effective as a vertical passer in college, it's unlikely to translate to the next level. He is pro-ready because of his maturity and experience. He was a four-time Academic All-Big 10 selection, was voted a captain by his teammates as a sophomore, only the second time that occurred in MSU history. He is also noted for his sizable efforts and contributions in community service.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/2) vs. Youngstown St.: Short (<10 yds): 16 of 17 (94%), 148 yds (8.7 YPA), 86 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 poor throw, 0 drops; Deep (>10 yds): 3 of 8 (38%), 87 yds (10.9 YPA), 20 YAC, 1 TD, 0 INT, 4 poor throws, 0 drops
(10/1) vs. Ohio State: Short : 17 of 21 (81%), 149 yds (7.1 YPA), 81 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 0 poor throws, 2 drops; Deep : 3 of 10 (30%), 99 yds (9.9 YPA), 30 YAC, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 4 poor throws, 1 drop; 1 fumble
(11/12) vs. Iowa: Short: 12 of 18 (67%), 82 yds (4.6 YPA), 65 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 poor throw, 2 drops, 2 throwaways; Deep: 6 of 11 (55%), 178 yds (16.2 YPA), 83 YAC, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 2 poor throws, 0 drops, 1 throwaway; 3 fumbles
(12/3) vs. Wisconsin: Short: 15 of 18 (83%), 133 yds (7.4 YPA), 133 YAC, 1 TD, 0 INT, 0 poor throws, 1 drop; Deep: 8 of 13 (62%), 140 yds (10.8 YPA), 7 YAC, 1 TD, 1 INT, 4 poor throws, 0 drops
14 GP/14 GS (11-3 record), 267 comp, 419 att. (63.7%), 3316 yds, 7.9 YPA, 25 TDs, 10 INTS; -39 rushing yds, 0 TDs
2010: 13/13 (11-2)-226-338-66.9-2825-8.4-20-10; -136-1
2009: 13/12 (5-7)-198-328-60.4-2680-8.2-19-9; 60-0
2008: 5/0 (0-0)-32-43-74.4-310-7.2-2-1; -12-0
- missed 1 start in 2009 due to an ankle injury
Cousins is a guy that should be a solid to good NFL passer. But he doesn't really wow you with his physical tools to make you believe he will be an elite NFL passer. The player he sort of reminds me of is Matt Ryan, albeit a somewhat lesser version. His arm strength and athleticism might not even be on the level with Ryan. I think like many recent rookies, he can come in right away and be an effective starter. Although he's probably not a guy that will win right away unless he's surrounded with good talent and stability. Cousins has the capability of being one of the better QBs in the league because he does most things well, but doesn't excel anywhere. His accuracy, arm strength will basically make him into one of the better game managers out there. But he's a smart, mature guy that can instantly win over a locker room. You're just not sure he's going to be able to make the plays on the field to really help a team win at the highest level. Ultimately he should have a long career as a starter, and if a team can put weapons around him and surround him with talent, he's capable of leading a team to the playoffs. He can be the face of a franchise because he's such a good kid, but he's not what I'd call a franchise QB in the sense that he's the guy a team builds around for a decade or so. The sort of player that he winds up being is a Chad Pennington, and a guy that if you have playmakers around him and a capable supporting cast, you can be in the playoffs. But ultimately you're going to always see the cracks and that gulf that exists between him and the elite QBs, and constantly be looking for more. But I think he'll be a good starter in the league, definitely in the Top 15 or so guys. And on a team that wants to be more of a run-oriented, defensive-minded team, he is probably your best bet because he is very coachable, a capable leader, and can manage the heck out of a game. But if you ask him to go out there and win you a bunch of football games each year, then you're going to be disappointed. While he has the intangibles and experience to be able to play right away, it's really not going to make him into a better QB. The ideal situation will be one where he can at least sit and watch for at least a year, get comfortable in the system, and then start.
Cousins offers excellent ability as a backup in Atlanta because he can come in right away and likely fill that role with ease. He's smart and mature enough to pick up an NFL offense relatively quickly. And ultimately with a few years development, the Falcons could conceivably deal him for picks a la Matt Schaub once upon a time. But what makes him a less than ideal fit in Atlanta is because he offers almost the exact same skillset as Matt Ryan. And while he would be a good insurance policy to have, ultimately he's not going to give you anything that Ryan isn't already giving you.
Chad Pennington, ex-Dolphins
In the past, Cousins would have probably been a second round pick because he's never really going to be a stud as a starter and while you can win with him. But in today's game due to the pressure to have good quarterbacks, he's likely to be picked in the first round. So with that in mind, he's not a total reach in the last ten or so picks for a team that is desperate for a developmental quarterback.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Arm Strength: 5.5
Decision Making: 7.5
Pocket Awareness: 6.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.