Feb. 25, 2012
Q: What's your impression of Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins?
A: Well, I've seen a lot of him, and I think he has all the tools physically to be a really good quarterback. He's got a great arm, good mobility, good command of the offense, and he can make all the throws. He can throw it long, short, and he's got touch. The only negative is he needs to clean up his interception-to-touchdown pass ratio and that's a function of a lot of things. Sometimes, it's a function of the receiver or not getting the protection you need. He's shown all the ability you need to play in this league and he's in a good position because there are probably four guys that will be drafted ahead of him. Cousins will be in that second clump, below RG3 and Andrew Luck, so he's going to go to a team where he's not going to have any pressure on him. He's going to have the ability to come in, learn the offense, and move slowly, which is what a quarterback should do in this league. I don't have any doubt that he'll be successful.
Q: When pro teams evaluate Kirk Cousins' resume, how important is the fact that he lead Michigan State to back-to-back 11-win seasons?
A: It's a tremendous help. First of all, his character is the best. He's a leader and a high-character guy. He's smart and he's a winner. That matchup right here in this building in the Big Ten Championship Game, both quarterbacks (Cousins and Wisconsin's Russell Wilson) played exceptionally well. Both guys are going to be drafted right around the same area I think. Both guys are winners. So when you look at a college quarterback's resume, one of the first things you look at is how many games has he won, what kind of pressure has he been under and has he played well in big games? And the answer for Kirk Cousins is yes he has.
Q: Both at the college level and in pro football, quality defensive linemen are at a premium. What has impressed you most about Michigan State's Jerel Worthy?
A: First of all, his size and athletic ability are absolutely rare. Coach (Mark) Dantonio called me shortly after the season was over and asked "where do he think he's gonna go (in the NFL Draft)?" And I said I'm pretty sure he's going in the first round. It's rare when you find people who have that kind of athletic ability, that kind of size and movement, and that kind of strength and explosion. When he turns the ferocity dial up and goes as he did here in the Big Ten Championship Game, he's a real, dominant force. Worthy has to prove it in this league, but he has tools similar to (Baltimore Ravens) Haloti Ngata.
Q: You have followed the Big Ten for a long time. Michigan State has recorded back-to-back 11-win seasons and has won more Big Ten games than any conference team over the last four years. Talk about the job Mark Dantonio has done since taking over the program.
A: He's has done an incredible job. He has taken a program that Nick Saban elevated to college football royalty so to speak, and he's taken it higher. He has taken it to a level where it can become a national title contender every year. It's been a long time since Michigan State saw that kind of consistent, top-level performance, but it's no surprise because Mark Dantonio is one of the great coaches in college football. Plus, not only does he do a great job on the field, he does a great job off the field with his kids in getting them ready for the NFL, getting them ready to be good citizens. Mark runs a top-notch program. When a team drafts a player from Michigan State - as we did here in Indianapolis with Chris Rucker - it knows from the minute he walks in the door, he's ready to be a professional.