COMMENTARY | Projecting Michigan State Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins as a late first-rounder in the 2012 NFL Draft was probably a bit of a stretch.
However, some mock drafts suggested that was possible. Other mocks had Cousins going in the second round. But that didn't happen, either.
Michigan State's career-leader in wins and passer rating, and just about everything else, remains on the board as of Saturday morning. Nick Foles, who was at Michigan State before transferring to Arizona, was taken before Cousins, despite being ranked lower by sites like Walter Football. Arizona State's towering signal-caller Brock Osweiler was selected before Cousins, too.
Osweiler being selected by the Denver Broncos over Cousins was the kicker, actually. Several analysts and mock drafts forecast Cousins being with Denver. That proves what several coaches and GMs say about the pre-draft hype: It is indeed just hype.
And the Philadelphia Eagles were reportedly interested in Cousins. But they took Foles, who had a respectable collegiate career and has been one of the Pac-12's elite for the past three seasons.
When former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson, a projected late-rounder, was taken in the third round by the Seattle Seahawks, that was the last draw... for Spartans players, that is. According to a report, they didn't approve of Wilson going before Cousins.
Below Tweets are from an MLive.com post:
"I'm done!!!!!!!" junior cornerback Darqueze Dennard wrote, minutes after tweeting, "I'm so pissed right now!!!!" after re-tweeting the thoughts NFL-hopeful fullback Todd Anderson: "Russell Wilson over Kirk is the worst pick I have ever seen #truth."
And from redshirt-freshman linebacker Darien Harris, simply: "- ________ -"
Senior quarterback Peter Badovinac elaborated a bit more.
"Seattle's picks show 2 things: You don't hire a HC/GM in the NFL & there's a reason Pete Carroll didn't make it in the NFL the first time around."
It's understandable that teammates rushed to support Cousins, who became the face of Michigan State football by beating Michigan three straight years as a starter and led the program to back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in history.
Cousins was more than a player, he was the ultimate captain, well-respected by those around him. And that was for good reason. Despite mistakes (like an interception on a would-be game-winning drive in 2009 against Notre Dame), Cousins never pointed fingers. He took responsibility for his own actions, never looking down at teammates in the process.
Now, Foles, Osweiler and Wilson are great athletes. I'm not so sure they're better than Cousins, but Wilson is an incredible scrambler who proved able to manufacture wins against a shrinking clock.
It is a bit perplexing knowing that quarterbacks that didn't achieve the personal success of Cousins were taken before him. He was a three-year starter and captain, something Wilson can't lay claim to. Although Wilson did immediately enter Wisconsin and earn captaincy, he didn't have the type of sustained success as Cousins.
Osweiler essentially had one superb year with Sun Devils. That was enough for the 6-foot-8 gunslinger to get noticed. The Pac-12 was also considerably less competitive than the Big Ten, a league Wilson and Cousins each reached a high level of play in.
Logic, it seems, isn't always present in the NFL Draft. The two teams reportedly interested in Cousins selected quarterbacks ranked below, or at the same level, as he was entering this weekend. Denver and Philadelphia must have seen something in Osweiler and Foles that they didn't see in Cousins.
I'm just not sure what that was.
Adam Biggers has followed NCAA and NFL football for over 20 years. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.