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Kirk Cousins could be worth first round pick, says Mike Shanahan

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The Redskins coach explains the decision to start Cousins as a means to evaluating the team and perhaps get future value for a good player.

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Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan says that quarterback Kirk Cousins could potentially be worth a first-round draft pick, the coach stated during an appearance on ESPN 980.

"If he lights it up, hey, maybe we can bring a first-round draft choice back to this organization, and say hey, who are we gonna take in the first round," Shanahan said. "And I think by him playing and Robert not playing, it gives us a chance to have a few options for our organization that we wouldn't normally have, and the safety of our quarterback going into the offseason is preserved."

Shanahan announced earlier this week that Robert Griffin III would be benched for the remainder of the season in favor of backup Kirk Cousins, drafted in the fourth round by Washington in 2012. Cousins has just 573 yards passing in his career and this season is 12-of-25 for 107 yards in limited regular season action. Cousins was a star quarterback at Michigan State, throwing for 25 touchdowns and 3,316 yards his senior year in 2011.

In 2011, the Philadelphia Eagles traded backup quarterback Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie on a second-round draft pick. Kolb was a second-round pick in 2007 and had started seven games across four seasons.

The decision to bench Griffin has been a controversial one in light of a recent report that stated Shanahan was unhappy with the relationship between the starting quarterback and the team's owner, Dan Snyder. Griffin has been increasingly ineffective on a bad team, however, and the team maintains the move is about preserving his long-term health during what is the end of a losing season.

The Redskins face the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

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