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Mike Shanahan: Kirk Cousins might yield first-rounder

Kirk Cousins is about to embark on a three-game audition.

Making the most of his surprise opportunity won't give him permanent residence atop the Washington Redskins' depth chart. It could, however, set him up for a starting job elsewhere in 2014.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan strongly hinted at the organization's intentions Friday, telling reporters (via WTEM-AM) that "maybe we can bring a first-round pick (back)" if Cousins shines in Washington's final three games.

Is Shanahan crazy? Could Cousins -- a fourth-round draft pick 18 months ago -- be flipped for a first-rounder on the strength of three (largely meaningless) regular-season games?

In his latest notebook, NFL Media's Albert Breer divulged a conversation he had with a pro scouting director who watched tape of every Cousins snap in 2013, including the preseason. The scout saw Cousins as something of a rich man's Nick Foles -- an "above-average starter who you would love to have as your backup."

Would the pro director give up a high draft pick to land Cousins?

"As my starter, no," he responded. "I just don't think he's worth giving up a high-round pick for when, in the end, you're gonna be looking to replace him."

Breer also spoke with an AFC personnel executive who was more optimistic about Washington's chances.

"It only takes one (team)," he said, "and these few games may have a strong influence on the answer."

Six general managers queried by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport agreed that Cousins was more likely to fetch a second-rounder. At least half of those general managers don't believe the team will part with their inexpensive Griffin insurance, regardless.

They might have a different opinion after Shanahan's latest comments.

We previewed every Week 15 game in the latest "Around The League Podcast."

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