Kirk Cousins: Best Value At QB in NFL

April 12, 2022

Kirk Cousins is a hot-button topic on social media on a regular basis. He is one of the most polarizing players in the NFL among fans. Fans either love him or hate him. The fans that love Cousins will point to his top five in the league stats. The haters will point to one playoff win and every team he’s ever played on being mediocre. Don’t tell anyone, but they’re both right.

However, anyone with any ability to be objective can’t deny that he’s of great value. But he’s getting paid $35 million, how can he possibly be a good value? Yes, there are arguments both for and against his salary verse results. But there is no argument against him being an incredible value as the 102nd overall pick in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft. Without a doubt, the best value at QB in the NFL in the last 20 years. No, I’m not arguing he’s better than Tom Brady, nobody can do that with a straight face. Since Brady, there’s no better bang for your draft buck than Kirk Cousins.

Kirk Cousins, Best Value At QB In The Last 20 Years

In formulating this claim the first thing I did is research all the fourth to seventh-round picks the Vikings used on a QB. Here are the gems the Vikings picked since 2001:

  • Tyler Thigpen, Coastal Carolina, 7th round in 2007
  • John David Booty, USC, 5th round in 2008
  • Nate Stanley, Iowa, 7th round in 2020

Outside of Thigpen starting a dozen games in the NFL, in the most horrible fashion, none of these draft picks amounted to anything useful. So clearly the Vikings haven’t done much at QB in the mid to later rounds.

I know, you’re going to say “but Vikings are horrible at drafting and developing QBs!”. Yes, you are correct, they are. With that in mind, I looked at every QB drafted since 2001 in rounds four through seven. What I found is there are three levels of QB, Cousins and Dak Prescott level, veteran backups, and total wasted picks.

There were 130 QBs selected in the past 20 years in rounds four through seven. Of the 130 there were 25 that landed in the veteran backup or journeyman category. These are guys like Bruce Gradkowski ,Tyrod Taylor, Trevor Siemian, Gardner Minshew, and Sage Rosenfels. These players are good values as mid to late-round picks. They’ve started games in the NFL, add to the QB room, and provide a veteran option if your starter goes down. For that area of the draft, these are good picks. None of these players compare in any way to players like Prescott or Cousins in terms of games started, wins, or stats.

Dak Prescott VS Kirk Cousins

These two are the only QBs drafted in the fourth through seventh rounds in the past 20 years to be career starters and in the top 15 QBs regularly. Out of 130 QB drafted, just two became successful starters in the NFL. How do they stack up?

  • Prescott has a record of 53-32 and over the past six years Cousins is 48-45-2, so edge to Prescott here. Dallas did provide better offensive lines and overall surrounding cast but Prescott does have the better record.
  • QB rating goes to Cousins a 100.7 over Prescott’s 98.7.
  • Cousins threw for 33 TD more than Prescott over the last six years but threw 10 more INTs.
  • Cousins threw for more yards, higher YPA, and a higher completion percentage than Prescott.

While they’re close and clearly the two best value QBs since Tom Brady, Kirk Cousins tops Prescott.

I think that we sometimes get lost in stats, wins, and losses and forget where some of the players come from. There have been 243 QBs drafted in the past 20 years. Only about 17 of them turned out to be as good or better than Kirk Cousins. 15 of those QBs were drafted in the first three rounds. Cousins may not be a Tom Brady or Drew Brees. Being one of 17 players over the past 20 years to consistently be in the top 10 to 12 QBs every year is impressive.