Members of the 2012 IMG Academy NFL Combine/Pre-Draft Training Program continue to pile up the records and success stories in their first year in the League. Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins is the latest to make a splash. After coming off the bench for injured fellow rookie QB Griffin III to lead the Redskins to a victory last week, Cousins made his first NFL career start this week and dispelled critics who believed the Redskins would have to rely solely on the rush.
Cousins completed 26 of 37 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 22 rushing yards on three carries. Cousins' performance helped lift the Redskins over the Browns 38-21, and, more importantly, to first place in the NFC East. With the win in his first NFL start, Cousins and Griffin III made the Redskins the first team since 1983 to have two different rookie quarterbacks win their first career starts in the same season. The Denver Broncos previously completed the task at the hands of John Elway and Gary Kubiak.
Cousins joined fellow rookie QBs Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) at IMG Academy in the winter/spring of 2012 to prepare for the NFL Combine and Draft. On Sunday, Tannehill led the Dolphins past the Jaguars, 24-3, passing for 220 yards and running for 52.
Meanwhile, Wilson, who slipped into the third round of the Draft due to his size (5'11"), has revitalized the Seahawks offense. On Sunday, he led Seattle to a 50-17 victory over the Bills. Apart from his strong arm and solid field reading ability, Wilson can also run. In his last three games, he is averaging three times as many QB rushing yards than in his first 11 games. In fact, he's running right toward a bid for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Wilson and his Seahawks are gearing up for an epic battle against another West Coast powerhouse, the San Francisco 49ers. With a victory Sunday, the Seahawks would pull within a half game of their division rival. Meanwhile, Cousins/Griffin III and the Redskins will take on the Philadelphia Eagles. A win in Philly and then at home the following week against the Dallas Cowboys would make them NFC East champions.
Members of the 2011 IMG Academy NFL Combine/Pre-Draft Training Program also had great success on Sunday. Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers to a 31-7 victory over the struggling San Diego Chargers, while Christian Ponder helped the Minnesota Vikings to a 33-26 win against the St. Louis Rams.