Nearly four years ago, Kirk Cousins was surprised when he heard the Washington Redskins selected him in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL draft.
He was actually stunned because the team had traded up and selected Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“The most interesting thing was that the Washington Redskins were nowhere on my radar especially after they traded up for Robert,” Cousins reflected. “I felt like Robert was going to be going there and they’d be set. For that reason, I knew God’s hand must be in on the process somehow.”
A good observation.
Fast forward to this past Friday when The Pro Football Writers of America announced that Cousins was their 2015 co-Most Improved Player of the Year award winner, an honor he is sharing with Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman.
Cousins, set team records in passing yards (4,166), attempts (543), completions (379) and 300-yard passing games (seven). Cousins moved the ball through the air efficiently, completing 69.8 percent of passes for the second-highest completion percentage in Washington history (eighth-best in NFL history) and recording the third-highest passer rating in franchise history (101.6).
In the final 10 games of the regular season, Cousins led Washington to a 7-3 record, throwing for 274 yards per game with 23 touchdowns and just three interceptions — leading the team to the NFC East title.
Cousins ran past the media and yelled, “You like that!?” after a 31-30 comeback victory in Week 7 over Tampa Bay.
After “You like that!?” Cousins completed 72.4 percent of his passes for 2,746 yards and was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for December.
In 2014, Cousins started some games for Washington. But in six games with five starts, he had 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
He is now the first Washington player to win the award since its inception in 2000, and is the first quarterback to be named Most Improved Player of the Year since Derek Anderson of Cleveland in 2007.
For Cousins, his future success may have started developing in 2012 as he leaned on his faith instead of questioning why he was drafted behind a Heisman winner.
“I trust that He(God) brought me here for a reason,” Cousins remarked to CBN a few days after the draft.
“And that reason may not be to be the starting quarterback for now or to be the guy throwing touchdown passes on Sunday afternoons. It may be to be a servant, and to be a backup and to serve Robert and the rest of my teammates however possible. If that’s God’s plan then it’s God’s plan and that’s good enough for me.”
Kirk Cousins was good enough for the Redskins in 2015, while Heisman winner Robert Griffin III was relegated to the practice squad.