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NFL Notebook

Redskins make surprise pick in Cousins

From Wire Services / April 29, 2012
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The Redskins were serenading the arrival of Robert Griffin III at a draft party at FedEx Field when they surprised the football world by drafting another quarterback.

However, coach Mike Shanahan quickly deflected talk of a possible quarterback controversy, saying Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins was taken in the fourth round on Saturday as a long-term insurance policy.

“Any time you get a quarterback like Robert in the second pick of a draft, he’s your franchise quarterback,’’ Shanahan said. “He’s going to be your quarterback for the next decade. [Kirk] knows he’s going to be a backup, but there [are] injuries. I thought it was a steal for us.’’

Cousins, who won 27 games as a three-year starter at Michigan State, was a little surprised to be picked by Washington.

“I was trying to forecast which teams would be looking at a quarterback and I didn’t see the Redskins thinking along those lines,’’ Cousins said.

Washington was the first team to select two quarterbacks in the first four rounds since Green Bay in 1989. The Redskins have started 21 quarterbacks over the last 19 seasons, including John Beck, who was released Saturday.

But Griffin seems comfortable with the expectations. He said Saturday that he’s going to “try not to take the weight of the last 20 years on my shoulders.’’

Competition ahead?

Judging from Pat Shurmur’s comments to the Cleveland Plain Dealer Friday, the Browns coach is expecting a battle between incumbent quarterback Colt McCoy and first-round pick Brandon Weeden. “We’ve drafted a quarterback to come in and compete with him - at this point - and that’s where it’s at,’’ Shurmur said . . . According to multiple reports, the Raiders will work out Matt Leinart this week and could sign the former Southern Cal quarterback to back up his former college teammate, Carson Palmer.

Staying in Miami

Miami Hurricanes running back Lamar Miller kept falling in the draft until the Miami Dolphins traded up to take him in the fourth round, 97th overall. He had been projected as a likely second-round pick and perhaps even a late first-rounder. “To be in my hometown, to get a chance to play for a Super Bowl, that’s always a great thing,’’ he said. Miller rushed for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns last year . . . The Bengals drafted their first player from Ohio State since 1994, taking running back Dan Herron in the sixth round. Herron was one of five Buckeyes implicated in a scandal involving a tattoo-parlor owner in Columbus.

Familiar Toon

The Saints selected Wisconsin wide receiver Nick Toon in the fourth round (at No. 122), hoping to give quarterback Drew Brees another big target after losing Robert Meachem to free agency. Toon is the son of former New York Jets receiver Al Toon . . . The Rams will release kicker Josh Brown, who is entering the final year of a five-year, $14.2 million deal. St. Louis drafted Missouri Western kicker Greg Zuerlein in the sixth round . . . Authorities in Oak Grove, Minn., said Vikings running back Caleb King was arrested Saturday on suspicion of assaulting another man. King allegedly assaulted a 22-year-old man, causing skull and facial fractures and cuts that required more than 50 stitches to close. The man is hospitalized in serious condition.

Last man in

The Colts took a quarterback with the first overall pick Thursday and with the last overall pick Saturday, making Chandler Harnish of Northern Illinois this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant.’’ Harnish, Pick No. 253, will join Andrew Luck on the depth chart. It’s the first time since 1967 that a non-expansion team has had both the first and last pick in the draft.

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